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Published  by  HUMPHREY  MILFORD, 
London,  on  behalf  of  the  Continuation 
Committee  of  the  World  Missionary  Conference 















THE  studies  contained  in  this  volume  appeared  in 
successive  numbers  of  the  International  Review  of 
Missions  and  are  reissued  by  the  desire  of  the 
Continuation  Committee  of  the  World  Missionary 
Conference.  An  introductory  chapter  has  been 
kindly  contributed  by  Dr.  S.  M.  Zwemer,  in  which 
the  distinctive  character  of  these  contributions  to 
the  study  of  Islam  is  made  clear.  It  is  believed 
that  all  who  are  concerned  in  missions  to  Moslems 
will  find  instruction  and  inspiration  in  the  living 
experience  which  the  studies  record. 

In  order  to  facilitate  the  use  of  the  book  by 
students,  a  second  index  has  been  added  classifying 
the  material  under  the  six  main  topics  dealt  with. 

Acknowledgments  are  due  to  the  Rev.  H.  U. 
Weitbrecht,  Ph.D.,  D.D.,  for  the  transliteration  of 
Arabic  names  and  terms ;  to  the  Rev.  W.  H.  T. 
Gairdner,  for  help  in  the  preparation  of  the  indexes, 
generously  given  during  a  short  holiday ;  and  to 
Miss  G.  A.  Gollock,  who  has  seen  the  volume 
through  the  press. 


EDINBURGH,  March  1915 





INTRODUCTION         .  .  .  .  .1 

By  Rev.  S.  M.  Zwemer,  D.D.,  Cairo. 

FIRST  STUDY          .  .          ••'..'          .,          .       11 

By  Rev.  W.  H.  T.  Gairdner,  Cairo. 

SECOND  STUDY        ....  ,       45 

By  Rev.  W.  A.  Shedd,  D.D.,  Urumia. 

THIRD  STUDY         .  .  .  .  .77 

By   Pastor  Gottfried    Simon,  formerly  of 

FOURTH  STUDY       .  .  .  .  .123 

By  Professor  Stewart  Crawford,  Beirut. 

FIFTH  STUDY          .  .  .  .  .157 

By  Professor  Siraju'd  Din,  Lahore. 

SIXTH  STUDY          .  .  .  .  .193 

By  the  Rev.  Canon  Godfrey  Dale,  Zanzibar. 

SEVENTH  STUDY     .  .  .  .  *     213 

By  Professor  Duncan  B.  Macdonald,  D.D., 
Hartford  Theological  Seminary,  U.S.A. 

GENERAL  INDEX     .  .  .  .  ,241 

INDEX  TO  Six  MAIN  TOPICS  .  .  ,     244 



IN  default  of  a  universally  recognized  standard  of  translitera- 
tion it  must  suffice,  for  present  purposes,  to  explain  what  has 
been  accepted  here  as  approximating1  to  the  best  systems  in 
use,  without  entering1  on  minuter  distinctions. 

Broadly  speaking,  the  consonants  not  mentioned  below  have 
the  same  value  as  in  the  leading  European  languages. 
Otherwise  (following  the  order  of  the  Arabic  alphabet)  : 

The  elision  of  alif  (|)  is  expressed  by  an  apostrophe,  e.g. 

th  (d;)  =  English  th  in  thing. 

h  (<£-)  =  a  modified,  deep  guttural  h. 
kh  (£)  =  ch  in  loch. 

dh  ( j)  =  th  in  the.     (In  Persia  and  India  read  as  0.) 
s  (jjtf)  =  modified  5. 
z  (\jP)  —  modified  z. 

The  Arabic  letter  'ain  (%)  being  unpronounceable  by  Euro- 
peans, is  rendered  by  an  inverted  apostrophe,  e.g.  shari'a. 

gh_(^)  =  a  voiced  kh,  something  like  the  French  rgrasseyj. 
t  (b)  and  z  (^)  =  modified  t  and  z. 

q  ( Jj)  =  a  deep  guttural  k  sound. 

The  long  vowels  in  Arabic  are  \-alif  (\ )  =  a  ;  waw  (j)  =  u  ; 

and  yay  (^)  =  I  (continental  value  in  each  case).  The  corre- 
sponding short  vowels  are  rendered  a,  u,  and  i  (unmarked). 

Exceptions  are  made  in  the  case  of  Allah,  Mohammed, 
Moslem,  and  Koran,  which  have  become  conventionalized  as 
English  words. 



By  the  Rev.  S.  M.  ZWEMER,  D.D.,  F.R.G.S., 
Board  of  Foreign  Missions  of  the  Reformed 
Church  in  America ;  Cairo  (late  of  Bahrein, 
Persian  Gulf). 


By  the  Rev.  S.  M.  ZWEMER,  D.D.,  F.R.G.S. 

ALL  missionaries  in  Moslem  lands  and  students  of 
the  Moslem  problem  everywhere  will  welcome  the 
appearance  of  this  series  of  able  articles  on  the 
Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam.  They  were 
written  for  the  International  Review  of  Missions 
and  are  now  gathered  together  and  published  in 
compact  form  to  reach  a  still  larger  circle  of 
readers.  The  writers  of  the  papers  were  asked  to 
supply  from  their  own  experience  an  answer  to  the 
following  questions,  without  necessarily  adhering 
exactly  to  the  precise  form  in  which  the  questions 
were  put : 

1.  In   your    contact    with    Moslems,    what    have 
you  found  to  be  the  elements  in  their  faith  which 
are  really  vital ;  i.e.,  which  are  genuinely  prized  as 
a  religious  help  and    consolation,  or  which  tend  to 
influence  character  and  conduct  ? 

2.  Have  you,  on  the  other  hand,  found   in  indi- 
viduals any  dissatisfaction  with  their  faith  on  specific 
points  ? 

4         Vital  Fcrct-s  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

3.  Which  elements    in  the  Christian   Gospel  and 
the   Christian   life   have   you  found  to   possess  the 
greatest  power  of  appeal  ? 

4.  Which  elements   in    Christianity  awaken  most 
opposition  or  create  most  difficulty? 

5.  What   elements    in   Islam    present    points    of 
contact  with  Christianity,  and  may  be  used  by  the 
teacher  as  a  foundation  on  which  to  build  ? 

6.  Has    your    contact    with    Moslems    shed   any 
fresh  light  on  the  New  Testament,  or  enlarged  or 
altered   your   understanding  of  what   is  most   vital 
and  essential  in  the  Christian  faith? 

The  answers  given  are  not  based  on  theories 
or  conjectures,  but  come  from  the  school  of  ripe 
experience  and  of  lifelong  study  and  sympathetic 
understanding  of  Islam  and  of  Moslems.  Those 
that  give  their  testimony  are  as  strong  and 
representative  a  group  as  it  would  be  possible  to 
select  without  increasing  its  number.  It  includes 
missionaries  who  have  laboured  or  are  still  at 
work  in  Egypt,  Syria,  Persia,  the  Dutch  East 
Indies  and  East  Africa;  an  Indian  convert  from 
Islam  and  a  distinguished  student  of  the  problem 
at  home. 

The  Rev.  W.  H.  T.  Gairdner  who  writes  the 
first  paper  has  been  at  work  among  the  educated 
Moslems  of  Cairo  under  the  Church  Missionary 
Society  since  1897 ;  he  is  at  the  head  of  the 
Cairo  Study  Centre  for  the  training  of  missionaries 
to  Moslems  and  is  the  author  of  the  life  of  his 

Introduction — S.  M.  Zwemer  5 

former  colleague,  Douglas  Thornton,  and  of  other 
works.  The  Rev.  W.  A.  Shedd,  D.D.,  has  been  a 
missionary  of  the  Presbyterian  Church  of  America 
(North)  in  Persia  for  many  years  and  is  specially 
conversant  with  the  Shi'a  form  of  Islam.  Pastor 
Gottfried  Simon  also  speaks  with  authority,  having 
laboured  for  eleven  years  among  Mohammedans 
and  the  Batak  tribes  threatened  by  the  advance 
of  Islam  in  Sumatra.  His  contribution  is,  in  fact, 
a  scholarly  condensation  of  his  work,  Islam  und 
Christentum  im  Kampf  um  die  Eroberung  der 
animistischen  Heidenwelt,  which  has  recently 
appeared  in  an  English  translation.  Professor 
Stewart  Crawford,  who  contributes  the  fourth 
article,  writes  from  the  point  of  view  of  one  who 
has  been  in  close  contact  with  Mohammedanism  in 
Syria.  He  was  born  in  the  mission  field  and 
spent  his  boyhood  among  the  Syrians.  Then  for 
fifteen  years  he  engaged  in  itinerant  work  as 
missionary  in  Damascus  and  the  Anti-Lebanon. 
At  present  he  is  a  professor  in  tne  Syrian 
Protestant  College.  Professor  Siraju  'd  Dm  of  the 
Forman  Christian  College  at  Lahore  knows  by 
experience  that  the  vital  power  of  the  Gospel 
can  overcome  and  lead  captive  all  the  vital  forces 
of  Islam  in  its  train.  He  is  a  convert  from 
Mohammedanism  and  has  had  experience  both  in 
his  college  work  and  as  a  bazaar  preacher  in 
leading  others  to  the  living  Christ.  No  less 

6        Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

authoritative  is  the  message  of  the  Rev.  Canon 
Dale,  Chancellor  of  Zanzibar  Cathedral,  who 
joined  the  Universities'  Mission  in  1889.  He 
also  writes  from  experience  and  knows  both  the 
points  of  contact  and  of  contrast  between  Islam 
and  Christianity.  Dr.  Duncan  B.  Macdonald, 
who  contributes  the  last  paper,  is,  as  we  all 
know,  one  of  the  foremost  authorities  on  the 
history  and  dogma  of  Islam.  His  three  important 
volumes  on  the  Development  of  Moslem  Theology, 
the  Religious  Attitude  and  Life  in  Islam  and 
Aspects  of  Islam  should  be  in  every  missionary 

It  is,  of  course,  impossible  that  even  so  strong 
and  representative  a  group  of  seven  writers  could 
present  the  whole  of  missionary  experience  or  be 
always  in  perfect  agreement.  Nor  would  this  be 
desirable.  They  do  give  us,  however,  foundation 
for  future  study  and  a  consensus  of  opinion  on 
the  leading  elements  of  the  baffling  problem,  and 
lay  down  principles  for  its  systematic  study  far 
in  advance  of  anything  hitherto  attempted  or 

It  is,  of  course,  true  that  there  is  a  sense  in 
which  we  cannot  speak  of  vital  forces  in  Islam 
at  all.  In  Christ  alone  is  the  life.  He  is  the 
sole  source  and  the  perennial  fountain  of  the 
life  that  is  life  indeed.  Like  all  other  non- 
Christian  systems  and  philosophies  Islam  is  a 

Introduction — S.  M.  Zwemer  7 

dying    religion.      Neither    the    character    of    the 
Koran  nor  of  its  prophet  have  in  them  the  promise 
or   potency   of    life   that   will    endure.     Moreover, 
at   the    present    time    there    are    in   Islam    many 
evidences  of  decay.     The  Earl  of  Cromer,  writing 
of    Egypt,   said:     'Reformed    Islam    is   Islam    no 
longer — it   is   something   else,  and   we   cannot  yet 
tell    what    it    will    eventually   be.   ...   Christian 
nations  may  advance  in  civilization,  freedom,  and 
morality,    in    philosophy,    science,    and    arts,    but 
Islam  stands   still,  and   thus  stationary,  so   far   as 
the   lessons   of  history  avail,    it   will   remain.'     In 
1899,  delegates  from  the  Moslem  world  assembled 
in  Mecca   and  gave  fourteen  days   'to   investigate 
into   the   causes   for   the   decay   of  Islam.'     Fifty- 
seven   reasons   were   given,  including   fatalism,  the 
opposition    of    science,   the    rejection   of    religious 
liberty,   neglect   of   education,   and   inactivity   due 
to    the    hopelessness    of    the     cause    itself.      We 
find    the    same    note    of    despair    in    the     recent 
volume  of  essays  by  an  educated  Indian  Moslem, 
S.  Khuda  Buksh,  M.  A.     He  speaks  of  the  '  hideous 
deformity'   of    Moslem    society   and   of    'the   vice 
and   immorality,   the   selfishness,    self  seeking,  and 
hypocrisy   which    are   corrupting    it    through   and 
through.'     Those  who  live  among  Moslems  and  read 
Moslem  newspapers  and  books  are  more  and  more 
surprised  that  Islam   itself  is  not  conscious  of  its 
strength    but    of    its    weakness    and    decay    and 

8         Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

that  everywhere  Moslems  are  bemoaning  a  day  of 
opportunity  that  is  lost.  The  Moslem  pulpit  and 
the  Moslem  press  in  the  great  centres  of  Islam 
unite  in  a  wail  of  despair.  '  O  ye  servants  of 
God,'  said  a  Cairo  preacher  last  year,  '  the  time 
has  come  for  Moslems  to  look  after  their  affairs 
and  to  regard  their  religion  and  conduct  as  a 
sick  man  looks  toward  his  remedy  and  the  man 
who  is  drowning  toward  dry  land.'  Some  months 
later  Mohammed  Al  'Attar  of  Al  Azhar  University 
published  his  essay,  Where  is  Islam?  in  which  he 
despairs  of  all  reform  and  exposes  to  public 
gaze,  in  all  their  corrupt  nakedness,  the  decaying 
forces  at  work  in  Islam.  According  to  these 
physicians  the  patient  suffers  from  an  incurable 
malady.  The  expansion  of  Islam  and  its  world- 
wide conquests  are  indeed  tokens  of  its  outward 
strength  but  it  lacks  inward  vitality. 

The  writers  of  the  papers  here  collected  are 
naturally  perfectly  cognizant  of  these  facts.  As 
Christians  they  know  that  real  life  is  found  only 
in  Christ.  But  they  use  the  term  'vital  forces' 
to  describe  those  truths  and  characteristics  which 
have  for  many  centuries  had  such  marvellous 
power  over  the  hearts  of  men.  The  strength  of 
any  religion  lies  not  in  its  bad  qualities  or 
tendencies,  but  in  its  good;  not  in  its  false 
teachings,  but  in  its  truths  and  half  truths.  To 
study  Islam  with  sympathy,  therefore,  we  must 

Introduction — S.  M.  Zwemer  9 

seek  to  know  where  its  real  strength  lies  and 
what  there  is  in  its  teaching  that  captivates 
the  minds  and  hearts  of  Moslems  (i.e.  those 
surrendered  to  it).  We  must  know  Islam  at  its 
best  that  we  may  point  Moslems  to  a  way  that 
is  better.  We  must  give  full  credit  to  all  its 
elements  of  strength  and  beauty  in  order  that  we 
may  with  greater  gladness  and  boldness  present 
Jesus  Christ,  who  is  altogether  strength  and 
beauty,  because  in  Him  are  hid  all  the  treasures 
of  wisdom  and  knowledge  and  in  Him  alone 
dwells  all  the  fulness  of  the  Godhead  bodily. 

The  Moslem  heart  and  the  Moslem  world  have 
only  one  great  need — Jesus  Christ.  In  Him  is 
the  life  and  the  life  was  the  light  of  men.  'The 
fresh  breath  of  Jesus,'  as  Jalalu  'd  Dm,  the  Moslem 
mystic,  called  it,  is  proving  and  will  evermore 
prove  the  only  real  vital  force  in  Moslem  lands : 

And  granite  man's  heart  is  till  grace  intervene 
And  crushing  it  clothe  the  long  barren  with  green. 
When  the  fresh   breath  of  Jesus  shall  touch  the   heart's 

It  will  live,  it  will  breathe,  it  will  blossom  once  more. 

In  the  present  conditions  and  opportunities  that 
confront  the  Church  of  God  throughout  the  whole 
Moslem  world  we  face  a  new  and  grave  responsi- 
bility. It  can  only  be  met  by  the  outpouring  of 
life  in  loving  service,  by  sacrificial  obedience  to 
the  last  command  of  our  Saviour,  and  by  the 

io       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

immediate  sympathetic,  tactful  but  also  fearless 
and  direct  proclamation  of  the  Gospel  by  word 
and  by  deed.  Then  will  the  vital  forces  of 
Christianity  come  to  their  own  over  against  the 
vital  forces  of  Islam. 


By  the  Rev.  W.  H.  T.  GAIRDNER,  Church 
Missionary  Society ;  Cairo. 

By  the  Rev.  W.  H.  T.  GAIRDNER 

Is  the  evangelization  of  Islam — in  this  or  any  other 
generation — worth  while  ?  And  if  so,  just  how  is  it 
worth  while  ? 

Of  these  two  questions  the  former  expresses  a 
doubt  which  is  entertained,  with  the  utmost  facility, 
by  those  in  whom  the  Christian  ideal  of  evangeliza- 
tion is  unformed  or  imperfectly  realized ;  and  which 
cannot  but  suggest  itself  at  times  even  to  those  to 
whom  Christianity  and  world  evangelization  have 
become  absolutely  inseparable  terms.  These  last  are, 
and  in  the  very  nature  of  things  must  be,  idealists. 
Starting  from  the  tremendous  premiss  of  the 
universality  of  Christ,  which  for  them  is  paramount 
and  of  all  things  most  certain,  they  apply  it  every- 
where and  to  everything,  seeing  in  each  refractory 
phenomenon  only  a  challenge  to  prove  in  their  own 
lives  the  truth  of  the  premiss  challenged.  Reason- 
ing of  this  sublime  a  priori  type  is  absolutely 
justifiable.  It  lies  at  the  root  of  all  that  is  most 

heroic  in  man — even  if  it  is  responsible  for  that 


14       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

which  is  only  fanatical.  It  accounts  for  his  progress, 
won,  against  all  seeming  and  in  spite  of  the  mockery 
of  circumstance,  by  his  faith  and  effort  and  blood — 
even  if  it  also  accounts  for  much  that  has  thwarted 
progress.  The  question  of  the  evangelizing  of  Islam, 
that  stubbornest  and  most  refractory  of  phenomena 
for  Christian  idealists,  is  for  such  minds  rightly  and 
sufficiently  solved  by  their  own  all-embracing 
principle.  And  yet,  if  only  for  the  sake  of  those 
whose  thought  is  habitually  suspicious  of  a  priori 
reasoning,  and  who  have  not  yet  grasped  the  all- 
embracing  principle  of  the  universality  of  Christ,  it 
is  surely  worth  while  to  ask  the  second  question  of 
the  two  with  which  we  started — how  is  the  evangeliz- 
ing of  Islam  worth  while  ?  Nay,  even  among  those 
who  are  convinced  of  the  universality  of  Christ  there 
may  well  be  some  whose  minds  demand  an  answer  to 
this  question.  History  presents  so  many  examples 
of  the  ruinous  breakdown  of  the  most  heroic  idealism, 
when  it  has  refused  to  check  its  a  priori  reasonings 
by  a  reference  to  the  realities  of  the  case. 

There  is,  indeed,  for  every  one  a  reward  in  each 
honest  attempt  to  consider  steadily  the  phenomena 
that  seem  most  flagrantly  to  contradict  the  founda- 
tion principle  of  his  life.  For  the  effort  invariably 
ends  in  the  enrichment  of  the  principle  itself.  In 
this  paper  we  desire  to  make  some  such  attempt  to 
answer  the  questions  with  which  we  started. 

Such  an  inquiry  might,  of  course,  be  conducted 

First  Study— W.  H.  T.  Gatrdner          15 

on  various  lines ;  we  might,  for  example,  prove  the 
political,  or  social,  or  general  reactive  benefits  of 
Mohammedan  missions,  and  the  undesirability  on 
general  grounds  of  discontinuing  them.  Or  one 
might  point  to  the  genuineness  of  those  who  have 
actually  come  over  to  the  faith  of  Christ  from  Islam, 
and  the  manifest  value  of  many  of  them  to  the 
Church  of  God.  In  this  paper,  however,  it  is 
intended  to  take  a  different  line.  We  shall  try 
first  to  discover  how  much  in  Islam  seems  to  possess 
practical  religious  significance,  as  distinct  from 
merely  formal  importance ;  and  then  what  has  been 
felt  by  some  Moslems  to  be  unsatisfactory  in  their 
own  religion.  This  will  lead  us  to  consider  Chris- 
tianity with  a  Moslem's  eyes,  and  to  inquire,  first, 
what  aspects  of  Christianity  arouse  his  antagonism 
— whether  unjustly,  because  they  are  part  of  God's 
truth,  or  justly,  because  they  arise  from  man's 
failure;  and  then  the  aspects  which  gain  his 
sympathy — either  because  they  resemble  features  of 
his  own  religion,  or  because  they  meet  some  need 
which  his  own  religion  fails  to  meet.  The  results 
of  such  an  inquiry  should  afford  materials  for  an 
answer  to  the  two  questions  with  which  we  started  ; 
and  they  will  further  suggest  what  are  the  aspects 
of  the  Christian  message  which  it  would  appear 
most  necessary  to  emphasize,  realize  afresh,  and,  it 
may  be,  rediscover,  in  the  task  of  bringing  that 
message  to  Islam. 

1 6      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

The  judgments  passed  as  these  various  points 
are  reviewed  represent,  of  course,  only  the  writer's 
individual  opinions,  based  on  his  own  observation 
and  reflection.  The  results  gained  must  therefore 
be  defective ;  they  may  be  in  part  erroneous.  The 
judgments  of  a  single  individual  cannot  be  other 
than  defective.  Only  from  a  synthesis  of  such 
articles  as  this  can  come  any  real  illumination  upon 
the  questions  raised  by  our  inquiry.  And  it  is 
only  as  his  personal  contribution  to  such  a  synthesis, 
which  must  result  from  the  comparison  of  the 
experience  of  a  number  of  workers  in  the  Moslem 
field,  that  the  writer  ventures  to  offer  the  observa- 
tions and  judgments  contained  in  the  present  paper. 

Not  all  of  the  vast  system  of  Islam  is  religiously 
significant.  Much  of  the  colossal  development  of 
the  canon  law,  for  example,  is,  like  all  casuistical 
systems,  of  purely  theoretic  interest.  Some  of  it 
has  never  been  in  anything  but  practical  abeyance, 
for  it  represented  from  the  first  rather  the  theoriz- 
ing or  idealizing  of  the  Mohammedan  lawyers,  like 
that  of  a  Plato  in  his  4  Laws,'  as  to  what  the  life  of 
a  full,  realized  Mohammedan  state  or  individual 
should  be.  Theoretically,  of  course,  every  Moslem 
carries  the  whole  content  of  the  canon  law  in  his 
heart ;  actually,  not  every  one  even  of  the  lawyers 
so  much  as  carries  it  in  his  head. 

First  Study— W.  H.  T.  Gairdner         17 

The  same  thing  applies  to  the  system  of  Islamic 
theology  and  of  religious  ritual.  Not  all  of  it  is  of 
equal  religious  significance.  Some  of  the  theology 
is  purely  the  property  of  the  professional  theologians, 
and  therefore  of  no  religious  significance  at  all. 
And,  in  regard  to  ritual,  it  is  often  that  which  is 
unofficial  rather  than  that  which  is  officially  recog- 
nized that  is  found  religiously  to  matter.  What 
strikes  the  superficial  observer  as  of  enormous 
importance  often  expresses  formal  allegiance  rather 
than  religious  life. 

The  heart  of  every  religion  is  its  doctrine  of 
God.  When  we  strip  the  Mohammedan  doctrine 
of  Allah  of  all  that  is  admittedly  of  purely  theoretic 
interest,  it  would  appear  that  what  is  of  living 
significance  to  Moslems  is  their  conviction  that 
Allah  is,  that  He  is  more  than  a  principle  or  an 
'influence  not  themselves,'  that  He  is  a  personal 
force,  and  that  He  has  a  definite  relation  to  the  world 
— which  includes  a  real,  though  quite  inscrutable 
and  also  passionless  favour  towards  themselves.  This 
faith  unquestionably  affects  the  whole  thinking  and 
doing  of  Mohammedans.  It  may  not  always  produce 
a  particularly  ethical  fruit,  but  it  is  what  to  them 
matters.  It  gives  them  a  steady,  if  stiff,  Weltan- 
schauung \  it  very  often  enables  them  to  face  loss, 
trouble,  and  adversity  with  complete  stoicism. 
Though  the  length  to  which  they  have  pushed 
deism  might  seem  to  imply  a  hopelessly  remote  deity, 

1 8       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

their  conception  of  the  unmitigated  omnipotence  of 
Allah  brings  Him  virtually  near — for  man  is  every 
way  surrounded  by,  nay,  himself  exists  through  the 
immediate  working  of  Allah's  will  and  power.  And 
though  their  conviction  of  the  absolute  '  difference ' 
between  Allah's  nature  and  attributes  and  their  own 
logically  leads  to  complete  agnosticism,  they  find 
ways  through  which  there  is  given  them  a  knowledge 
of  Allah  and  the  unseen  world — the  way  of  revela- 
tion through  His  Prophet  and  His  book,  and,  as  we 
shall  see,  the  way  of  mysticism  also. 

Another  aspect  of  the  Moslem's  religion  which  is 
unquestionably  vital  to  him  is  his  personal  attitude 
to  his  Prophet.  The  clause  '  Muhammadun  rasulu? 
llah?  is  at  least  as  essential  and  significant  an  article 
of  faith  to  him  as  '  La  ildha  ilia?  Hah."1  In  some 
respects  the  Traditions  come  nearer  to  the  life  of 
a  Mohammedan  than  does  the  Koran  itself,  and 
one  does  not  wonder  that  the  Egyptian  peasant — 
if  what  the  writer  has  been  told  is  true — will 
sometimes  refuse  to  perjure  himself  on  al  Bukhari, 
while  he  will  cheerfully  do  so  on  al  Quran.  The 
Moslem's  devotion  to  his  Prophet,  his  admiration 
and  enthusiasm,  nay,  his  personal  love  for  him,  are 
intense  realities.  He  believes  that  that  Prophet 
suffered  and  sacrificed  in  loyalty  to  his  mission. 
Sometimes  he  throws  over  theological  or  philo- 
sophical proofs  of  the  truth  of  Islam,  and  points 
simply  to  'the  fact  of  Mohammed.'  He  feels  a 

First  Study— W.  H.  T.  Gairdner          19 

personal  relationship  to  him;  he  is  conscious  of 
a  personal  gratitude  for  the  ineffable  services  he 
rendered.  Here  again  comes  in  the  importance  of 
the  Traditions,  fictitious  though  most  of  them 
have  been  shown  by  modern  criticism  to  be.  For 
if,  as  Goldziher  has  pointed  out  in  his  latest  work,1 
it  is  the  Traditions  that  have  idealized  Mohammed 
and  mitigated  the  primitive  Arab  barbarity  of  some 
aspects  of  his  career,  it  is  to  them  that  we  owe  the 
fact  that  the  pious  Moslem  is  able  to  glide  away 
from  such  aspects,  and  to  emphasize  to  himself  more 
genuinely  ethical,  more  humane  traits,  and  thus  in 
some  measure  to  feel  his  own  demand  for  moral 
satisfaction  met.  It  was  this  devotion  to  the  man 
in  the  earliest  days,  it  is  this  still  to-day,  that  has 
made  possible,  if  it  has  not  actually  determined,  the 
development  of  Islam  as  a  system  of  minute  legalism 
and  casuistry,  based  upon  the  practice  of  Mohammed 
even  more  than  upon  the  word  of  Allah.  It  is 
indeed  remarkable  to  reflect  how  Christianity,  which 
regarded  its  Founder  as  divine,  never  preserved, 
much  less  invented,  minutiae  concerning  His  daily 
life,  and  so  was  saved  from  enslaving  itself  to  a 
new  system  of  law;  while  Islam,  the  very  religion 
which  arose  to  protest  against  the  excessive  esteem- 
ing of  any  man,  ended  by  binding  itself  hand  and 
foot,  and  for  all  generations,  to  one  man's  dictation 
in  all  the  concerns  of  both  private  and  public  life. 
1  Vorlesungen  in  Islam^  p.  44. 

2O       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

Another  reality  of  the  Moslem's  religious  life  is 
his  pride  in  Islam,  its  position  as  latest  and  last  of 
the  religions,  its  triumphs,  its'  literature  and  its 
learning,  its  saints  and  its  doctors.  It  is  this, 
and  his  consciousness  of  its  universality  'for  black 
men  and  red,'1  that  account  for  another  reality 
—  his  sense  of  the  Moslem  fraternity,  and  the 
many  ways  in  which  he  gives  expression  to  it  in 

When  we  ask,  further,  what  is  really  significant  in 
the  Moslem's  spiritual  life,  we  often  find  that  it  is 
not  what  bulks  most  largely  to  the  casual  observer. 
Every  traveller  to  the  East  has  been  struck  by  the 
phenomenon  of  Moslem  prayer,  whether  the  wonder- 
ful, silent,  machine-like  movements  of  the  rows  of 
worshippers  in  the  mosques,  or  the  private — yet  how 
public! — prayer  of  the  single  worshipper  in  the 
city  or  in  the  field.  Personally,  the  writer  ques- 
tions whether  the  impression  of  tremendous  spiritual 
reality  thus  given  altogether  corresponds  with  facts. 
Statutory  prayer  is  taught  to  the  small  boy  of  seven 
as  a  drill,  and  a  drill  it  to  some  extent  remains. 
These  five  daily  prayers  are,  indeed,  classified  as  a 
'  work '  or  '  duty,'  and  this  classification  affects  the 
whole  way  in  which  they  are  instinctively  regarded. 
Not  thus  does  the  element  of  feeling  enter  into 
Moslem  prayer.  That  comes  in  less  statutory  services 

1  Or '  white,'  as  we  should  say  ;  all  those  whose  cheeks  can 
show  a  red  colour. 

First  Study— W.  H.  T.  Gairdner          21 

— Koran  readings  at  feast  or  fast  or  festivity,  and 
above  all  the  dhikr — that  door  which  Mohammedan 
mysticism  has  opened  to  the  world  of  religious 
emotion.  It  is  there  he  feels ;  it  is  there  he  believes 
that  his  spirit  comes  in  contact  with  the  unseen  and 
into  the  Presence.  The  attitude  of  the  old  mystics 
of  Islam  in  speaking  of  the  canonical  salat  and  the 
uncanonical  dhikr  is  typical.  Al  Ghazzali  is  en- 
thusiastic for  the  latter,  in  which  he  felt  he  found 
a  road  to  God :  the  former  he  upholds  indeed  most 
strenuously,  as  a  duty  which  must  on  no  account  be 
pretermitted,  but  a  duty  with  aspects  the  utility  of 
which,  real  enough  he  doubts  not,  is  known  only  to 
Allah.  Other  mystics,  too,  have  left  apologiae  for 
the  official  ordinances  of  Islam,  but  the  very  vigour 
they  put  into  their f  task  seems  to  show  how  much 
justificatory  support  y%ey  felt  those  ordinances 
needed.  *\ 

As  for  the  aesthetic  element  of  worship,  that  too 
does  not  come  from  the  silence  and  severity  of 
the  mosque  services — even  the  Friday  Tchutba  is  now 
conventional.  It  is  the  highly  elaborate,  ornate 
chanting  of  the  Koran — an  art  the  delight  of  which 
is  born  half  of  music  and  half  of  word — that  gives 
him  that  element  of  aesthetic  uplift  which  in  the 
West  is  found  in  storied  window  richly  dight,  in 
pealing  organ,  in  melodies  and  harmonies  that  thrill 
and  uplift  the  soul.  Does  not  this  susceptibility  of 
the  Moslem  to  the  reading  of  the  Koran  suggest 

22       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

that  beauty  in  the  reading  of  prayer  or  scripture  in 
our  own  churches  might  be  more  earnestly  studied, 
and  that  opportunities  lying  ready  to  hand  in  this 
direction  are  not  being  made  as  full  use  of  by  us  as 
they  might  easily  be  ? 

The  hold  which  mysticism  has  upon  Moslems, 
especially  in  the  old  historic  countries  of  the  East, 
and  the  reality  of  the  part  it  plays  in  their  religious 
lives,  cannot  be  exaggerated.  The  subject  demands 
more  careful  and  detailed  study  than  it  has  yet 
received,  and  also  suggests  that  Christian  mysticism 
should  be  more  deeply  studied  with  a  view  to 
seeing  whether  its  message  would  not  definitely 
appeal  to  those  to  whom  the  mystical  element  in 
religion  is  the  most  dear  of  all. 

Though  the  Mohammedan,  as  a  rule,  simply  has 
no  eyes  for  the  clearest  defects  in  his  own  system, 
there  are  aspects  of  Islam  which  individual  Moslems, 
at  least,  find  to  be  unsatisfactory.  Some  of  these 
we  must  now  study. 

As  far  as  the  present  writer  has  observed,  this 
dissatisfaction  does  not  touch  their  doctrine  of  Allah, 
nor  the  souFs  relation  to  Him.  He  cannot  say  that 
he  has  found  evidence  of  inarticulate  desire  after 
a  God  of  holiness  and  love,  nor  of  consciences 
burdened  by  the  sense  of  sin  which  nothing  in  Islam 
could  relieve.  To  the  Moslem,  while  still  a  Moslem, 

First  Study— W.  H.  T.  Gairdner         23 

these  things  remain  undreamed  of,  and  if  there  is  a 
void  here,  it  is  not  an  aching  one. 

But  it  is  to  be  believed  that  dissatisfaction  with 
the  moral  ideal  presented  by  Mohammed's  character 
is  already  beginning  to  be  felt  by  some.  It  is  not 
unknown  to  come  across  Moslems  who  have  realized 
that,  side  by  side  with  the  Traditions  ascribing  to 
the  Prophet  pious  dictum  and  genial  deed,  there  are 
stories  which  show  that  often  he  rose  no  higher  than 
current  Arab  ideal  and  Arab  practice.  As  incidents 
in  the  life  of  an  Arab  conqueror,  the  tales  of  raiding, 
private  assassinations  and  public  executions,  perpetual 
enlargements  of  the  hareem,  and  so  forth,  might  be 
historically  explicable  and  therefore  pardonable ;  but 
it  is  another  matter  that  they  should  be  taken  as  a 
setting  forth  of  the  moral  ideal  for  all  time.  It  has 
to  be  borne  in  mind,  further,  that  if  the  results  of 
the  European  criticism  of  the  Traditions  penetrate 
into  the  East  (and  there  are  signs  that  they  will  not 
fail  to  find  some  prepared  soil),  the  old  idealizing 
of  Mohammed  will  probably  become  more  difficult ; 
for,  as  we  have  remarked,  it  is  in  the  Traditions 
that  this  idealizing  takes  place.  The  writer  re- 
members one  young  Moslem  of  the  Tradition- 
criticizing  school  saying  to  him :  '  The  important 
thing  is  to  accept  the  Koran ;  it  was  no  part  of  the 
mission  of  the  Prophet  to  give  a  moral  ideal.  Ac- 
cept the  Koran,  and  then  let  Jesus,  if  you  like,  be 
better  than  Mohammed,' 

24       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

Accept  the  Koran! — but  already  the  note  of 
dissatisfaction  with  that,  too,  can  be  dimly  detected. 
Not  for  ever  can  the  Mohammedan  shut  his  eyes 
to  the  puerilities  which  fill  so  many  of  its  pages, 
the  contradiction  between  its  commendation  of  the 
previous  '  books '  and  its  still  unexplained  disagree- 
ment with  those  books'  contents.  These  and  other 
difficulties  have  already  caused  individual  Moslems 
dissatisfaction  and  doubt ;  and  already  a  critical 
theory,  unreconcilable  with  the  form  in  which 
the  book  is  cast  (throughout,  a  direct  address 
from  the  Deity)  has  been  attempted  in  India. 
But  of  all  sacred  books  the  Koran  least  lends 
itself  to  such  adjustment.  Will  its  very  unyielding 
rigidity,  hitherto  its  strength,  prove  its  destruction 
when  the  real  strain  of  the  testing  comes  ? 

Then  again,  though  Moslems  usually  criticize 
Christianity  for  being  so  largely  destitute  of  con- 
crete, detailed  commands  and  prohibitions,  the 
legalistic  and  casuistical  evolution  which  Islam 
inevitably  underwent  has  many  a  time  provoked 
dissatisfaction.  The  casuistry  of  Abu  Hamfa,  one 
of  the  four  received  legists  of  Islam,  was  recently 
made  the  subject  of  bitter  complaint  in  a  leading 
article  in  a  Cairo  daily  paper.  The  mortmain  of 
the  sharl'a,  and  the  dead  clutch  it  keeps  on  the 
freedom  of  social  and  political  development,  is 
bitterly  felt  and  silently  resented  by  many  a  re- 
former. The  veil,  polygamy,  servile  concubinage, 

First  Study — W.  H.  T.  Gairdner          25 

the  whole  position  of  women,  the  inequality  lying 
at  the  root  of  the  conception  of  the  Moslem  state 
— all  these  things  are  matters  which  reformers  are 
burning  to  change,  and  yet  must  pay  lip-homage 
to,  because  revelation  seems  to  have  given  them 
their  final  form.  The  Sufi  or  mystic  movement  is 
likewise,  in  some  aspects,  a  protest  against  the 
enslavement  which  every  system  of  ordinances 
imposes  on  the  soul  in  the  ethical  sphere. 

Such  are  the  doubts  which  even  now  are  not 
unknown,  in  one  form  or  other,  to  many  who 
know  and  care  nothing  about  Christianity ;  and 
when  a  man  leaves  Islam  for  the  faith  of  Christ 
it  is  generally  one  or  other  of  these  doubts  upon 
which  his  dissatisfaction  has  fixed. 


We  have  said  that  many  a  Moslem  is  dissatisfied 
with  Islam  without  having  the  smallest  leaning 
to  Christianity.  What  then  is  his  attitude  towards 
the  Christian  religion  when  it  is  presented  to  him  ? 
In  what  ways  does  it  repel  or  attract  him  ? 

In  most  respects  the  instinctive  antipathy  and 
antagonism  of  Mohammedans  are  as  great  as  ever 
they  have  been  these  thirteen  centuries.  The 
fatal  blunder  of  the  uninstructed  Arabian  still 
produces  in  his  millions  of  followers  the  utter 
repudiation  of  all  that  is  distinctive  in  Christianity. 
The  case  is  closed ;  they  dare  not  look  into  it 

26       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

again,  just  as  they  dared  not  in  the  first  century 
of  the  Hijra,  when,  nevertheless,  they  were  in 
need  of  information  which  only  Jews  and  Christians 
could  give  them.  The  real  figure  of  Jesus  Christ ; 
the  fact  of  His  death,  with  its  ineffable  beauty 
and  endless  significance;  the  Easter  message  of 
the  empty  tomb  and  the  risen  Lord ;  and,  needless 
to  say,  His  divine  Sonship  and  oneness  with  the 
Father ;  the  Fatherhood  and  its  redeeming  love 
in  Christ;  and  the  eternal  Spirit  of  Jesus — all 
these  truths,  together  with  the  Book  that  is  the 
means  of  their  conveyance,  are  still  to  the  Moslem 
a  stumbling-block  and  foolishness.  There  are  no 
signs  of  a  more  sympathetic  study  or  understand- 
ing of  our  faith.  Deliberate  ignorance  or  con- 
temptuous acquaintance  is  still  the  rule.  The  one 
amelioration  of  the  situation — and  surely,  by  the 
way,  this  would  justify  missions  to  Islam  even  if 
they  did  not  produce  a  single  convert — is  the  fact 
that  modern  missions  have  at  least  made  Moslems 
respect  some  Christians,  and  in  them  recognize, 
however  unwillingly,  the  fruits  of  faith  and  love. 
In  many  a  Moslem  the  old  attitude  of  absolutely 
sincere  and  absolutely  unmitigated  contempt  for 
the  religion  of  the  Nazarenes  has  perforce  been 
modified  through  his  respect  and  friendship  for 
some  Nazarenes,  and  his  hearty  admiration  for 
their  work. 

The   stumbling-blocks   which   have   been   named 

First  Study — W.  H.  T.  Gairdner          27 

cannot  be  avoided.  They  must  be  turned  into 
stepping-stones.  The  doctrines  in  question  must 
be  presented  by  us,  not  as  hard,  formulated  lumps 
of  creed,  but  as  an  organic  tissue  of  faith,  warm 
with  life  and  perpetually  giving  rise  to  new  life. 
There  are  other  stumbling-blocks,  however,  which 
are  by  no  means  so  divine. 

The  failure  of  Christianity  to  leaven  all  western 
life,  its  practical,  nay,  its  avowed  abandonment 
by  so  many  in  France  and  elsewhere,  are  grievous 
hindrances  to  its  reception  in  the  East.  Again, 
the  indescribably  divided  state  of  the  Church  in 
eastern  lands  is  most  naturally  and  inevitably 
a  real  stumbling-block  to  the  Moslem.  Each 
little  community,  however  insignificant,  apparently 
ascribing  to  itself  alone  all  orthodoxy,  intensely 
aloof,  and  generally  instinctively  hostile  to  its 
neighbour ;  plural  patriarchs  for  the  same  see, 
plural  birthdays,  passion- weeks,  and  Easters  for 
the  same  Christ;  plural  altars  for  the  members 
of  the  same  Body  while  they  live,  and  plural 
graveyards  for  them  when  they  die,  even  in  death 
hugging  their  own  isolations,  and  elbowing  each 
other  out  into  the  cold — what  sights  could  be 
more  pitifully  ridiculous,  if  they  were  not  such 
an  utter  shame  ?  ;  Become  a  Christian  !  which  sort 
of  Christian?'  .  .  .  'Was  your  Christ  born  twice, 
and  did  He  die  twice?' — such  are  the  questions 
which  the  Moslems  ask. 

28       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

There  are  some  other,  if  smaller,  ways  in  which 
modern  Christendom  places  unnecessary  stumbling- 
blocks  in  the  way  of  Mohammedans.  When  we 
have  such  a  chance  to  show  them  the  secret  of 
freedom  and  spirituality,  combined  with  reverence 
and  order,  in  public  prayer,  it  is  to  be  regretted 
that  so  often  carelessness  with  regard  to  outward 
things  on  the  part  of  Christians  should  give 
Moslems  the  impression  of  slovenliness  and  ir- 
reverence in  worship.  Then,  again,  the  matter 
of  ablution  is  one  to  which  sufficient  thought 
has  not  been  given.  The  Englishman's  principle 
that  cleanliness  is  next  to  godliness  has,  indeed, 
enabled  him  to  solve  this  delicate  question  at 
least  quite  as  successfully  as  the  Mohammedan, 
who  has  narrowed  the  scope  of  cleanliness  while 
he  has  gone  on  to  make  what  he  recognizes  of 
it  part  of  godliness.  But  it  behoves  us  to  see 
that  Christendom  in  the  East,  in  general,  does  not 
fail  to  adopt  either  the  one  guiding  principle  or 
the  other.  Ceremonial  ablutions  may  often  defeat 
their  own  ends ;  yet  this  is  not  a  matter  in  which, 
while  protesting  against  the  ceremonialism,  Chris- 
tians can  afford  to  offend  a  scruple  at  the  base 
of  which  lies  something  of  permanent  value. 

The  question  of  wine  appears  to  the  present 
writer  a  much  more  difficult  one.  The  denuncia- 
tion of  wine-drinking  as  essentially  reprehensible, 
in  conjunction  with  the  use  of  it  as  a  sacramental 

First  Study — W.  H.  T.  Gairdner         29 

symbol,  makes  a  contradiction  so  flagrant  that 
it  is  not  be  wondered  that  the  Moslems  have 
stumbled  at  it.  The  terms  in  which  the  teetotal 
crusade  is  preached  in  the  East  need  to  be  chosen 
with  the  utmost  care,  and  unfortunately  are  not 
always  so  chosen.  It  is  to  be  feared  that  in  our 
zeal  to  exculpate  Christianity  in  this  matter  we 
have  but  played  into  Mohammedan  hands.  In 
our  honest  endeavours  to  take  away  one  stone  of 
offence,  have  we  dropped  another  in  its  place  ? 


We  have  now  touched  on  some  points  in  the 
Christian  faith  which  inspire  Islam  with  aversion. 
Is  there  no  more  genial  side  to  the  inter-relations 
of  the  two  religions  ?  Something  must  be  said  on 
this  deeply  important  aspect. 

It  may  be  said  that  there  are  in  Christianity 
aspects  common  to  Islam,  and  further,  aspects  which 
the  Moslem  can  hardly  but  admire,  even  though  it 
be  wistfully,  since  he  cannot  find  them  in  his  own 

We  hardly  need  to  go  over  again  the  familiar 
ground  of  the  articles  of  the  Christian  creed,  which 
are,  or  seem  to  be,  identical  with  beliefs  held  by 
Mohammedans,  such  as  the  unity  of  God,  the 
reality  of  revelation,  and  others  of  the  greatest 
moment  which  will  occur  to  all.  There  can  be  no 
doubt  that,  on  the  wise  principle  of  advancing  along 

30       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

lines  of  least  resistance,  these  beliefs  should  be 
emphasized  in  all  Christian  preaching,  and  indeed 
they  are  emphasized  in  every  religious  conversation 
in  the  East  between  Moslem  and  Christian,  or  at 
least  in  the  tacitly  understood  presuppositions  upon 
which  it  proceeds.  Yet  it  may  be  suggested  that 
Christians  might  go  further  along  these  lines.  For 
example,  the  Moslem  claim  to  be  the  only  true 
Unitarians  should  drive  the  Christian  to  preach  the 
Unity  with  emphasis  and  significance,  at  the  same 
time  making  it  to  be  felt  that  his  tri-unitarianism 
enriches  and  not  embarrasses  his  fundamental 
doctrine,  '  I  believe  in  One  God.'  It  is  possible 
that  in  so  doing  he  will  have  Islam  to  thank  for 
recalling  him  from  positions  which  he  has  taken  up 
to  safeguard  his  tri-unitarianism,  but  which  really 
threaten  both  the  one  and  the  other  aspect  of  his 
doctrine  of  God. 

Again,  it  is  probable  that  we  have  not  profited 
as  much  as  we  might  have  done  from  points  of 
contact  which  Islam  almost  involuntarily  offers. 
Sometimes  Islam  seems  to  be  groping  after  a  truth 
which  Christianity  richly  possesses.  Take,  for 
example,  the  strange  Moslem  version  of  the  Logos 
doctrine,  so  out  of  keeping  with  the  general  trend 
of  Moslem  theological  thought,  so  embarrassing 
to  the  theologian  of  Islam.  According  to  this 
doctrine  Allah  had  from  all  eternity  a  Word, 
which  Word  '  became '  a  Jcitdb — a  book  with  a  divine 

First  Study— W.  H.  T.  Gairdner          31 

message.  The  nature  of  this  pre-existence ;  the 
relation  of  that  Word  in  eternity  to  that  Koran  in 
time ; l  the  question  how  to  conceive  the  transition 
from  the  eternal  to  the  temporal  orders — these  have 
proved  questions  metaphysically  as  perplexing  to 
the  Moslem  as  to  the  Christian  theologian.  But 
for  that  very  reason  they  enable  the  latter  to 
present  the  idea  of  the  Christian  Logos  to  the 
Moslem  as  something  not  inherently  impossible, 
even  if  difficult  of  grasping ;  something  the  need 
of  which  Moslems  themselves  have  felt,  and  tried 
to  import  into  Islam  even  against  the  whole  trend 
of  the  system ;  something  which,  just  because  it  is 
so  entirely  in  line  with  all  Christian  thought,  will 
be  found  in  Christianity  more  fully  developed,  and 
more  richly  satisfying  by  just  as  much  as  a  conscious 
personality  is  of  greater  dignity  than  an  impersonal 
book.  Again,  the  hints  dropped  in  the  Koran  and 
the  Traditions  of  the  special,  the  '  real '  Presence  of 
God  locally  as  well  as  morally  (in  the  burning  bush, 
in  the  '  lowest  heaven,'  and  the  like),  might  be  used 
more  than  they  are  to  press  home  the  possibility 
of  a  Real  Presence  in  Christ,  and  its  greater  reason- 
ableness by  just  so  much  as  a  sinless  human  body  is 
of  greater  dignity  than  desert  shrub  or  intermediate 

1  One  standard  theological  text  goes  so  far  as  to  say  that 
the  Word  in  eternity  might  be  properly,  though  less  natur- 
ally, called  *  Koran.' 

32       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

In  ways  like  these  it  may  be  discovered  that  that 
mental  praeparatio  which  our  Lord's  first  disciples 
undoubtedly  had  to  enable  them  to  receive  the 
deeper  mysteries  of  Christian  monotheism,  and 
which  sometimes  seems  so  hopelessly  absent  in 
Moslems,  is  to  be  found  among  them  also,  if  it  be 
carefully  sought  out.  The  Jewish  ear  was  already 
attuned  to  the  expression,  'Son  of  God';  to  the 
Moslem  ear,  through  an  early  misunderstanding, 
it  is  wholly  repellent.  But,  as  we  have  seen,  the 
Moslem  may  have  had  some  other  praeparatio 
evangelica,  by  beginning  with  which  the  Christian 
evangelist  may  s-ucceed  in  curing  him  of  his 
prejudice  against  expressions  he  had  previously 
misunderstood.  And  here,  again,  he  on  his  part 
may  be  doing  the  Christian  evangelist  a  service 
by  unconsciously  driving  the  latter  back  to  the 
Scriptures,  and  compelling  him  to  ask  exactly 
what  God  meant  that  first  generation  of  Jewish 
Christians  to  understand  by  the  '  Son  of  God ' — an 
expression  which  had  been  current  for  centuries  in 
Jewish  thought,  but  to  which  their  Master  had 
given  a  new  and  ineffable  significance. 

It  is  no  contradiction  to  what  has  just  been  said, 
but  rather  complementary  to  it,  to  assert  now  that 
these  points  of  resemblance  between  the  two  creeds 
cannot  be  assumed  to  be  real  identities.  They  are 
not  so.  If  the  essence  of  a  thing  lies  in  its  essential 
attributes,  the  Moslem  Allah  is  not  the  Christian 

First  Study— W.  H.  T.  Gairdner         33 

God  and  Father ;  still  less  is  the  'Isa  of  the  Koran 
the  Jesus  of  the  Gospel.  The  Mohammedan  idea 
of  revelation  is  not  the  same  as  ours ;  and  nothing 
but  discomfiture  can  result  from  trying  (as  Christians 
in  the  East  unfortunately  often  do  try)  to  square 
the  inspiration  of  the  Scriptures  with  that  claimed 
for  the  Koran.  The  same  thing  is  true  of  other 
apparent  similarities.  Between  the  Christian  and 
the  Mohammedan  conceptions  there  is  no  true 
identity;  and  yet  the  relationship  must  not  be 
denied.  It  is  as  though  an  imperfect  artist,  after 
a  visit  to  Dresden,  tried  to  draw  the  face  of  the 
Sistine  Madonna  from  memory.  The  result  would 
give  no  true  copy,  not  even  perhaps  the  faintest 
resemblance.  Yet  a  true  copy  was  what  was  intended. 
It  was  to  have  been  the  Sistine  Madonna  and  no 
other.  And  only  by  allowing  this  assumption 
could  a  wise  teacher  point  out  where  and  how  the 
work  had  so  utterly  failed.  Imperfect,  distorted, 
null  beyond  all  words  to  express  it,  may  be  the 
Mohammedan  representation  of  our  God  in  his 
Allah,  of  our  Christ  in  his  'Isa.  Yet  these  re- 
present his  honest,  his  earnest  attempt,  and  the 
Christian  cannot  but  begin  on  that  understanding, 
and  then  try  to  show  his  friend  feature  after  feature, 
lovely  and  glorious,  of  the  true  portrait.  The 
mental  image  formed  by  Apollos  of  the  Christ  he 
preached  at  Ephesus  may  have  seemed  to  Aquila 
and  Priscilla  extraordinarily  unlike  the  adored 

34       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

Jesus,  whom  they  now  knew,  hopelessly  deficient 
and  at  points  inaccurate  and  misleading ;  yet  their 
dealing  with  him  is  summed  up  in  that  gentle 
remark,  'They  took  him  and  expounded  unto  him 
the  way  of  God  more  carefully.'  And  so,  while  the 
Figure  before  Apollos'  eyes  did  not  move,  the  mists 
that  concealed  and  distorted  It  disappeared,  and  Its 
divine  glory  shone  full  out. 

The  character  of  Christ  is,  indeed,  something 
which  does  attract  the  Moslem.  Is  it  only  our 
faulty  presentation  of  that  Figure  that  explains 
why  the  Moslem,  while  he  allows  to  Jesus  Christ 
every  grace,  seems  to  turn  to  Mohammed  when  he 
thinks  of  the  attribute  of  strength?  True,  the 
category  of  physical  force  is  a  veritable  obsession 
with  Islam.  Yet  a  doubt  remains :  has  our  por- 
traiture here  done  violence  to  the  divine  original? 
It  is  the  same  question  which  the  revolt  of  the 
German  Nietzsche  in  our  own  world  and  day  is 
in  so  different  a  way  pressing  home  upon  the 
Church.1  From  this  unworthy  suspicion  of  weak- 
ness that  Figure  must  be  cleared.  Its  divine 
energy,  exhaustless  vigour,  and  resistless  power 
must  be  given  their  proper  emphasis  :  Ecce  Vir ! : — 
not  the  less,  but  all  the  more  so,  because  He  was 

1  It  is  not  an  accident  that  writers  of  this  school  sometimes 
show  a  tendency  to  laud  Islam.  Bernard  Shaw,  in  his  play, 
Getting  Married^  makes  one  of  his  characters  express  the 
opinion  that  the  future  religion  of  Europe  may  well  be  a 
sort  of '  reformed  Mohammedanism.' 

First  Study— W.  H.  T.  Galrdner         35 

so  perfectly  gentle  with  little  children,  so  uncon- 
descendingly  courteous  to  women ;  so  understanding 
with  the  weak  and  with  the  fallen,  and  so  tender 
in  every  relation  of  friendship  and  love:  Ecce 
Homo!  And  the  story  of  His  Passion  may  not, 
and  must  not,  be  represented  in  the  telling  as  feeble 
passivity.  Rather  must  that  one  idea,  insisted  on 
by  the  master-hand  which  drew  the  picture  in  the 
Fourth  Gospel,  be  insisted  on  also  by  us,  namely, 
that  through  and  in  every  detail  He  was  royal  and 
divine,  proving  in  His  own  insulted  body  that  the 
weakness  of  God  is  both  more  majestic  and  stronger 
than  the  strength  of  man  :  Ecce  Rex !  What,  in  fact, 
but  very  strength  itself  could  have  given  and  left  His 
royalty  as  the  uppermost  impression,  after  a  night 
and  a  day  of  unresisted  mishandling?  The  action 
of  the  Passion  !  The  activity  of  its  passiveness  ! 

The  character  of  Christ,  then,  does  attract  the 
Mohammedan,  and  will  do  so  more  and  more. 
Many  a  Moslem,  when  he  has  fairly  placed  it  along- 
side of  the  character  of  Mohammed,  has  seen  the 
immeasurable  difference — one  which  is  not  diminished 
even  when  one  allows  to  the  latter  all  the  virtues 
that  can  honestly  be  claimed  for  him.  One  cannot 
measure  the  importance  of  this  fact,  if  the  question 
at  issue  between  the  two  faiths  tends  in  the  future 
to  resolve  itself  more  and  more  into  a  conflict 
between  two  ethical  ideals,  as  lying  at  the  root  of 
the  difference  between  two  theologies. 

36      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

There  is  just  one  feature  of  the  doctrine  of  Christ 
which  does  seem  to  have  an  attraction  of  its  own 
for  Moslems.  They,  rejecting  His  death,  are  all 
the  more  forward  to  acclaim  His  ascension  (or 
*  elevation '  as  they  call  it),  and  to  listen  with  eager 
curiosity,  and  sometimes  with  real  assent,  when  they 
are  led  on  from  that  to  His  living  and  perpetual 
intercession.  The  contrast  between  their  dead 
Prophet,  lying  in  his  splendid  tomb  in  al  Medina, 
and  the  Christ  who  passed  into  the  heavens  alive, 
sometimes  strikes  them  very  forcibly.  Many  a 
simple  Moslem  man  and  woman  has,  even  without 
definitely  quitting  Islam,  found  the  sheet-anchor  of 
a  new  life  of  faith  in  the  one  thought :  '  The  dead 
Prophet,  the  living  Intercessor.' 

Other  features  of  Christianity  which  often  un- 
deniably attract  Moslems  can  be  only  briefly  noticed. 
The  ethical  freedom  of  the  religion  of  Christ  has 
been  already  mentioned,  with  the  consequent  absence 
of  casuistical  rules  for  the  individual,  and  cramping 
regulations  for  the  social  and  political  life.  But 
not  many  Moslems  have  had  this  revealed  to  them 
yet.  The  freedom,  purposefulness,  intimacy,  and 
simplicity  of  Christian  prayer  is  another  such  feature. 
It  is  totally  different  in  its  whole  scope  and  aim 
from  the  Moslem's  salat\  ampler  than  his  quite 
undeveloped  du'd ;  saner  and  ampler  than  his  dhikr. 
And  as  such  it  ought  to  impress  all  Moslems  who 
witness  it ;  as  such  it  indeed  does  impress  some  of 

First  Study— W.  H.  T.  Gairdner         37 

them.  The  ideal  and  the  practice  of  Christian  love, 
forgiveness,  truthfulness,  and  chastity  have  time  and 
again  extorted  the  admiration  of  Mohammedans 
when  they  have  witnessed  them.  The  enterprise  of 
Christian  missions,  the  unheard-of  privations  and 
heroisms  of  pioneers  amid  the  arctic  cold  and  dark- 
ness or  the  awful  circumstances  of  African  bar- 
barism, arouse  in  them  wonder  and  ready  praise, 
and  are  a  real  witness  to  the  divinity  of  Christianity, 
or  at  least  a  standing  disproof  of  their  theory  of 
its  total  corruption  and  falsity.  The  life  of  the 
Christian  family,  when  they  see  it ;  Christian 
womanhood,  calm,  capable,  womanly,  gracious,  self- 
controlled — this,  too,  fills  them  with  wonder.  They 
know  Islam  has  never  produced  such  women ;  they 
know  it  is  not  producing  them  to-day ;  they  strive 
to  ascribe  the  overwhelming  difference  to  custom, 
race,  education — any  reason  that  can  be  found.  It 
seems  impossible  but  that  some  of  them  have  an 
inkling  of  the  truth  that  Mohammed  adopted  and 
stereotyped  the  Arab  conception  of  woman,  which 
was  fundamentally  and  finally  sexual ;  while  Jesus 
Christ,  by  the  silent  action  of  a  lifetime,  laid  the 
first  emphasis  on  the  identity  of  her  humanity 
rather  than  on  the  difference  of  her  sex,  thus  both 
dignifying  her  and  man  in  his  attitude  to  her. 

In  regard  to  the  more  theological  aspects  of 
Christianity,  the  writer  is  unable  to  say  that  any 
Christian  conception  naturally  attracts  Moslems, 

38        Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

or  appeals  to  any  conscious  craving  on  their  part. 
It  is  only  when  for  one  cause  or  other  a  Moslem's 
faith  in  Islam  is  shaken,  and  he  finds  a  home  in 
Christianity,  that  very  gradually  his  thoughts  about 
God  expand  and  demand  to  find  in  Him  what  only 
Christ  has  ever  revealed. 

It  will  have  become  already  fairly  clear  what 
aspects  of  the  Christian  faith  it  seems  to  the  present 
writer  need  most  strongly  to  be  emphasized;  what 
aspects,  we  might  say,  Islam  teaches  us  to  emphasize, 
to  realize  afresh,  in  some  cases,  perhaps,  even  to 
rediscover.  In  this  final  section  we  shall  try  to 
gather  together  and  complete  suggestions  that 
have  already  been  made  in  the  preceding  pages. 

The  unity  of  God  needs  to  be  emphasized  afresh. 
Some  presentations  of  the  Atonement  that  were 
distressingly  suggestive  of  tritheism,  even  to  the 
extent  of  asserting  the  existence  of  differences  of 
ethical  character  within  the  Godhead,  may  be 
henceforth  buried,  surely  unlamented.  The  em- 
phasis on  the  Unity  makes  the  Incarnation  and 
Atonement  much  more  divine  because  much  more 
God's  acts.  6  God  so  loved  the  world  .  .  .'  '  God  was 
in  Christ,  reconciling  the  world  to  Himself  .  .  .' 
And  the  more  they  are  realized  as  God's  sole  acts, 
the  greater  and  more  significant  they  appear. 

Moreover,    until    the    divine    Unity    has    been 

First  Study— W.  H.  T.  Gairdner         39 

grasped  and  re-emphasized,  the  enriching  effect,  the 
real  value  of  the  revelation  of  Father,  Son,  and  Spirit, 
cannot  be  felt.  To  find  love,  and  social  life,  and 
relations  of  reciprocal  joy  in  the  very  heart  of  God- 
head is  surely  to  be  assured  for  ever  of  the  personality 
of  God,  and  to  be  made  secure  from  the  negations 
of  deism  on  one  side  and  pantheism  on  the  other, 
into  both  of  which  Moslem  thought  tends  constantly 
to  fall.  It  means,  too,  the  final  redemption  of  our 
conception  of  God  from  mere  barren  sovereignty, 
loveless  and  unloved ;  from  the  revolting  callousness 
of  absolutism,  with  its  arbitrary  cruelties  and 
favours,  an  absolutism  no  more  worthy  of  man's 
gratitude  or  respect  than  that  of  Setebos  as  con- 
ceived by  Caliban  —  a  conception,  nevertheless, 
which  is  normal  and  invariable  in  Moslem  thought. 

We  have  already  seen  that  the  real  attraction 
which  mysticism  has  for  Mohammedans  is  a  call  to 
the  Christian  Church.  If  mysticism  had  at  first 
some  difficulty  in  finding  its  way  into  the  Moslem 
scheme,  and  if  the  reconciliation  of  Sufi  dhikr  with 
canonical  salat  once  caused  embarrassment,  no  such 
difficulty  existed  in  Christianity,  for  which  the 
two  words  EN  CHRISTO  enshrined  a  divine  mysticism 
in  the  heart  of  religion  from  the  very  outset,  and 
which  was  unembarrassed  by  the  formal  rigidities 
of  Islam.  Do  not  these  facts  constitute  a  call  to 
the  Christian  Church  more  deeply  to  experience  all 
that  lies  EN  CHRISTO,  and  further  to  attempt  to 

4O      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

interpret  and  preach  that  experience  to  Moham- 
medans ?  Let  a  Christian  Sufiism  appeal  to  the 
heart  of  the  Sufiism  of  Islam. 

Islam,  again,  alike  by  the  shallowness  of  its  ethical 
conceptions  of  Allah,  and  the  consequent  shallowness 
of  its  ethical  doctrine  of  man,  drives  us  to  emphasize 
and  realize  afresh  those  two  burning  attributes  of 
the  God  and  Father  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ — His 
holiness  and  His  love.  From  these  two,  each  the 
obverse  of  the  other,  follows  as  by  divine  naturalness 
and  necessity  that  self-sacrifice  of  love  to  save  the 
sinner  from  his  sin  which  we  call  the  Atonement. 
And  Islam,  as  we  have  seen,  by  its  uncompromising 
insistence  on  the  Unity,  helps  us  to  find  the  love 
and  the  action  of  God  at  the  beginning,  middle,  and 
end  of  the  entire  redemptive  work,  both  for  the  race 
and  the  individual. 

Islam  with  its  obsession  for  the  category  of  power 
and  force  compels  Christian  thought  to  see  more 
clearly  the  bearing  of  its  own  fundamental  asser- 
tions. All  power  must  indeed  be  ascribed  unto 
God — but  what  power  ?  The  reaction  against  the 
barren  Moslem  doctrine  of  omnipotence  leads  us  to 
perceive  that  physical  omnipotence  is  as  feeble 
a  category,  ethically,  as  either  brute  force  or 
mechanical  power ;  that  ethical  omnipotence,  in 
certain  moments  of  its  work,  may  well  seem  to  spell 
weakness  in  the  physical  sphere ;  that,  nevertheless, 
the  weakness  of  God  is  stronger  than  the  strength 

First  Study— W.  H.  T.  Gairdner         41 

of  man  *  and  that  the  Cross  was  the  victory  of  a 
distinctively  divine  and  distinctively  human  strength, 
which  the  living  glow  and  splendour  of  the  Resur- 
rection did  but  vindicate  and  demonstrate.  We 
have  already  seen  how  Islam,  like  some  modern 
philosophies,  makes  us  study  once  more  the  inex- 
haustible portrait  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  and  find 
in  every  feature  of  its  strength,  life  and  energy 
divine  ;  a  strength  of  which  His  gentleness  was  the 
ideal  obverse ;  and  which  transmuted  the  very  types 
of  utmost  earthly  indignity  into  circumstances  of 
royalty  itself. 

From  Islam,  too,  we  may  gain  a  clearer  realization 
that  it  behoved  Him,  the  principle  of  whose  life  was 
self-communication,  to  have  for  all  eternity  a  con- 
scious Word,  and  no  mere  unconscious  principle  or 
attribute ;  One  who  in  that  inscrutable  '  becoming  ' 
(which  after  all  merely  expresses  the  oncoming  of 
eternity  on  time)  'became  flesh,'  perfect  man  in 
the  image  of  God  ;  whose  '  words '  are  not,  like  the 
limited  vocables  of  the  Koran,  collected  between  the 
two  covers  of  a  book,  but  are  rather  the  total  self- 
expression  of  a  perfect  life,  which  never  spoke  more 
eloquently  than  in  the  perfect  silence  of  His  sacrifice. 
The  limited  Koran  against  the  limitless  Christ ! 

In  the  religious  ethical  life  we  have  already  seen 
what  qualities  appeal  strongly  to  Moslems,  and  what 
by  the  grace  of  God  the  Church  must  show  forth. 
But  one  word  may  be  added.  In  all  the  perplexities 

42       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

of  the  problem  of  sex,  both  social  and  individual, 
one  thing  stands  out  clear — that  the  incessant 
sounding  of  the  sexual  note  in  the  Koran,  the  Tra- 
ditions, the  canon  law,  and  in  the  poetry,  literature, 
theology,  and  entire  system  of  Islam,  tends  to  make 
impossible  the  highest  individual,  family,  or  social 
life,  and  defeats  the  very  ends  it  appears  to  have 
had  in  view.  In  its  attitude  of  man  to  woman,  of 
woman  to  man,  Islam  seems  to  us  to  have  hopelessly 
missed  both  dignity  and  beauty,  and  to  be  far  from 
having  secured  happiness;  and  that  because  it  has 
made  woman  in  every  way  a  prisoner  of  sex,  and 
thus  has  shut  up  man  to  a  merely  sexual  way  of 
regarding  her.  Islam  claims,  on  the  other  hand,  to 
have  accommodated  itself  to  the  facts  of  human 
nature,  and,  like  certain  modern  philosophies  of  the 
West,  accuses  Christianity  of  having  sinned  against 
human  nature  in  having  commanded  impossible 
renunciations.  Such  accusations  may  indeed  lead 
Christianity  to  take  stock  of  itself,  and  to  see 
whether  its  true  assertion  of  the  paramount  necessity 
and  possibility  of  self-discipline  may  have  led  to 
negations  and  abnegations  which  are  no  part  of  the 
message  of  Him  in  whom  the  totality  of  human 
nature  was  sanctified.  But  apart  from  the  corrective 
of  exaggerations  to  which  criticism  may  lead,  the  fact 
remains  unshaken  that  the  relation  of  man  to  woman 
and  of  woman  to  man  which  was  made  possible  by 
Jesus  Christ,  is  in  truth  the  sanest  as  well  as  the 

First  Study — W.  H.  T.  Gairdner          43 

purest,  the  strongest  and  the  richest  and  the  most 
perfectly  human.  The  Spirit  of  Jesus  teaches  that 
the  highest  and  the  happiest  solution  of  the  sex 
problem  is  won  in  the  out-and-out  acceptance  of  the 
subordination  of  impulse  to  self-discipline ;  and  that 
this  unstrained  self-discipline,  in  which  alone  impulse 
itself  finds  its  true  human  interpretation  and  God- 
ordained  satisfaction,  is  made  possible  by  Jesus 
Christ  for  whoever  wills  its  possibility,  without  any 
despairing  negation  or  abnegation  whatsoever. 

The  Spirit  of  Jesus — in  this  word  all  that  we 
have  been  trying  to  express  in  this  concluding 
section  is  summed  up.  Only  that  Spirit  can  avail 
with  Islam.  And  yet,  it  is  because  the  Church, 
whose  one  sole  asset  that  Spirit  is,  needs  in  every 
generation  to  rediscover  His  fulness — it  is  because 
of  this  that  she  may  perhaps  learn  some  lesson  from 
her  great  antagonist,  perhaps  see  that  antagonist 
unconsciously  motioning  her  towards  aspects  of  His 
fulness  which  otherwise,  it  may  be,  might  have 
escaped  her  eyes. 


By  the  Rev.  W.  A.  SHEDD,  D.D.,  Board  of 
Foreign  Missions  of  the  Presbyterian  Church 
in  the  U.S.A. ;  Uruinia,  Persia. 



By  the  Rev.  W.  A.  SHEDD,  D.D. 

THE  purpose  of  this  paper  is  to  reproduce  the 
impression  received  during  residence  in  a  Moslem 
land  from  contact  with  Mohammedans  in  school 
work,  religious  discussion,  social  intercourse,  and 
the  various  affairs  of  daily  life.  It  is  not  an 
attempt  to  maintain  a  thesis,  or  to  give  an  account 
of  any  phase  of  missionary  work,  or  even  to  give 
the  writer's  final  conclusions.  He  has  sought  to 
be  frank  and  sympathetic  in  his  relations  with 
Mohammedans,  among  whom  he  feels  it  an  honour 
to  count  not  a  few  friends,  and  the  effort  will  be 
to  be  candid  in  this  attempted  transcript  of  his 
impressions.  In  the  nature  of  the  case  specific 
proofs  cannot  be  cited  for  every  statement.  The 
range  of  observation  is  limited  to  one  country  and 
mainly  to  a  single  province,  and  to  the  smaller  of 
the  two  great  divisions  of  Islam,  viz.,  to  the  Shi'a 
Mohammedans  of  the  province  of  Azerbaijan  in 
Persia.  The  paper  is  in  part  also  an  attempt  to 
describe  the  attitude  of  Mohammedans  towards 


48      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

their  own  religion  and  towards  Christianity.  This 
again,  in  the  very  nature  of  the  case,  is  very  difficult 
to  do  with  fairness.  In  one  respect  there  is  perhaps 
danger  of  over-estimating  the  difficulty.  The  pro- 
foundness of  the  difference  between  the  East  and 
the  West  in  their  views  of  truth  and  attitude 
towards  life  has  been  a  favourite  subject  of  writers 
on  Asiatic  matters.  No  one  can  live  in  the  East 
and  attempt  to  enter  into  eastern  life  without 
again  and  again  being  baffled  by  the  different  point 
of  view  from  which  Asiatics  look  at  things ;  but 
the  conviction  has  grown  in  the  writer's  mind  with 
the  experience  of  passing  years  that  the  chasm  is 
not  impassable  by  any  means.  The  theory  that 
the  race  is  divided  into  sections  which  are  mutually 
inaccessible  in  intellectual  and  spiritual  things  is 
refuted  by  the  whole  trend  of  modern  history. 
The  social  ideals  of  the  West  are  penetrating  the 
East  and  are  laying  hold  of  the  masses  in  those 
lands.  Under  these  conditions  one  has  a  right 
to  expect  that  the  religious  ideas  that  have  inspired 
Europe  and  America  may  be  so  presented  in  their 
inherent  power  that  they  may  lay  hold  on  the 
Mohammedan  world. 


What  is  the  Moslem's  attitude  to  his  own 
religion?  Which  are  the  elements  that  hold  him 
with  living  power,  and  which  are  those  whose  hold 

Second  Study— W.  4.  Shedd  49 

is  weak  or  which  he  would  throw  off?  Two  pre- 
liminary remarks  may  be  made.  Obviously  one  must 
beware  of  universal  statements.  Mohammedans 
vary,  as  do  Christians,  in  temperament  and  in 
education.  A  doctrine  or  a  practice  that  holds 
one  man  with  a  powerful  attraction  may  be  re- 
pellent to  another.  In  the  second  place,  tendencies 
of  thought  and  of  theological  development  may  be 
more  significant  than  outspoken  praise  or  blame. 
The  former  may  be  the  unconscious  expression  of 
a  deep  need  on  the  part  of  many,  while  the  latter 
may  represent  the  passing  mood  of  a  few.  Usually 
the  former  is  the  summing  up  of  a  much  larger 
experience  than  the  latter. 

Faith  in  one  living  God  is  certainly  an  element  with 
living  power.  There  are  a  good  many  sceptics  in 
Persia  but  there  are  very  few  atheists.  The  language 
of  everyday  life  is  saturated  with  the  acknowledg- 
ment of  the  living  power  of  God.  Most  of  the 
phrases,  such  as  'If  God  will,'  *  Praise  be  to  God,' 
'  God  forbid,'  are  thoughtless  expressions  of  habit 
and  not  acts  of  conscious  faith ;  and  yet  custom  in 
its  origin  is  crystallized  conviction,  and  if  the 
conviction  is  lost  the  custom  will  pass  into  disuse. 
Besides,  there  are  other  evidences  for  the  faith. 
There  are  very  few  suicides  in  Moslem  lands,  and 
that  not  because  life  is  easy  and  men  are  contented. 
The  reason  is  that  the  hereafter  and  the  judgment 
are  too  vividly  real  for  men  to  take  liberties  of 

50       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

that  sort.  The  writer  was  talking  not  long  since 
with  a  Moslem  in  a  railway  carriage  in  Russia  and 
the  conversation  turned  on  recent  political  changes 
in  Persia.  The  Moslem  said  that  he  believed  that 
the  Russian  intervention  was  the  means  used  by 
God  to  cast  down  the  oppressors  and  to  relieve  the 
oppressed.  It  was  not  the  expression  of  assumed 
piety  but  of  a  real  conviction.  Another  Moslem 
was  in  the  habit  of  saying  that  life's  contrarieties 
prove  God's  existence,  meaning  that  the  thwarting 
of  our  wills  is  the  evidence  of  a  higher  will.  Islam 
assumes,  and  men  assume  in  their  daily  lives,  that 
this  living  God  has  a  direct  relation  to  men.  He 
has  sent  a  line  of  great  prophets  who  have  revealed 
His  will  for  man  in  the  form  of  law.  He  accepts 
worship  and  He  hears  prayer.  Fatalism  is  not  the 
ruling  conception  of  the  universe  among  Persian 
Shi'ite  Moslems.  The  feeling  of  helplessness  in 
the  hands  of  an  all-powerful  Ruler  is  not  absent, 
but  it  is  softened  both  in  theology  and  in  popular 
feeling.  What  may  be  called  the  feeling  that 
God  is  good-natured  is  very  common.  4God  is 
gracious  (karim) '  is  a  very  common  expression,  and 
the  idea  seems  to  be  that  He  is  not  vindictive 
and  will  pass  over  little  faults,  especially  in 
Mohammedans.  The  Nestorian  Christian  in  an 
exactly  similar  way  falls  back  on  the  expression, 
6  God  is  merciful.'  In  both  instances  the  effect  on 
morality  is  disastrous.  The  value  of  the  faith  in 

Second  Study — W.  A.  Shedd  51 

God's  living  power  is  limited  by  the  defects  in  the 
character  of  God  as  conceived  by  Moslems,  but  the 
faith  itself  enters  into  life  in  innumerable  ways. 

The  legalistic  idea  of  merit  plays  a  large  part 
in  life.  This  is  the  idea  that  certain  acts,  either 
those  prescribed  by  the  law  or  endorsed  by  religious 
custom,  such  as  the  fast  and  the  various  pilgrimages, 
or  acts  of  mercy,  are  reckoned  by  God  to  the 
advantage  of  the  doer.  Theoretically  the  motive 
of  the  act  enters  into  the  reckoning  of  merit ;  but 
practically  this  element  has  a  very  small  part  in  it, 
so  that  one  may  say  that  in  the  popular  idea  the 
reward  is  not  based  on  the  ethical  character  of 
the  act  but  is  in  large  measure  arbitrary.  The 
thousands  of  pilgrims  who  every  year  go  to  the 
shrines  and  above  all  to  Kerbala,  the  general 
observance  of  the  Ramadhan  fast,  the  unintelligent 
reading  of  the  Arabic  Koran,  the  building  of 
bridges,  the  indiscriminate  giving  of  alms,  and 
the  support  of  religious  mendicants  are  evidences 
of  the  power  of  this  conception.  No  religious  force 
works  in  more  ways  and  more  universally  than 

In  Persia,  faith  in  the  Imamat  is  another  almost 
universal  force.  This  implies  that  God  not  only 
reveals  His  will  through  the  prophets  but  is  in  a 
more  or  less  clearly  defined  way  actually  present 
in  human  life  in  some  person,  pre-eminently  in  the 
line  of  the  Imams,  'All  and  his  descendants.  This 

52       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

faith  works  out  in  various  sects  in  manifold  ways. 
It  lay  at  the  bases  of  the  claims  of  Sayyid  'All 
Mohammed,   the    Bab,   and    of    his    more   famous 
successor,    Bahau'llah.      Around    Lake  Urumia   in 
recent  years  a  sect  has  gathered  about  the  person 
of  a  religious  teacher  in  Maragha,  who  claimed  to 
be  in  some   sense  the  resting-place   of  the   divine 
presence.     It  is  startling,  perhaps,  but  thoroughly 
typical,  to  be  told  by  a  watchmaker  in  his  dingy 
little  shop  in  the  bazaar,  after  a  discussion  of  the 
alleged  necessity  of  the  presence  of  a  representative 
of  the  Twelfth  Imam,  ' 1  am  He,'  i.e.,  'I  am  the 
one  in  whom  for  this  time  and  place  this  divine 
presence  is  to   be  found.'     Such  sects   appear  and 
disappear  with  each  generation.     Among  the  'All 
Ilahis,   an   ancient   heretical   sect   and   by   far   the 
most  numerous   of  them  all,  the   divine   power  is 
centered   hi  the  Pirs,  as  their  religious  heads  are 
called.     The  honour  paid   by  the  Persians  to  the 
Sayyids  is  connected  with  this   belief,  as   they  all 
claim  descent  from  'All.     It  covers  and  excuses  a 
vast  amount  of  rascality  and  rapacity. 

Probably  no  Roman  Catholic  calls  more  instinct- 
ively on  the  Virgin  and  the  saints  for  help  than 
does  a  Shi'ite  Moslem  on  the  Imams.  The  writer 
was  once  becalmed  on  the  Lake  of  Urumia  and  the 
passengers,  under  the  leadership  of  a  lusty  Sayyid, 
relieved  the  monotony  of  the  hot  and  tiresome 
delay  by  praying  for  a  wind.  All  in  chorus  would 

Second  Study— W.  A.  Shedd  53 

implore   help    from    the    great   prophets   and   the 
Imams,  calling  on  each  one  in  turn. 

Closely  allied  to  this  belief  is  another  religious 
force  that  is  exceedingly  strong  among  the  people 
here.  This  is  allegiance  to  a  personal  guide.  It  is 
the  principle  about  which  the  dervish  orders  and 
the  more  irregular  religious  devotees  cluster.  The 
practices,  such  as  the  dhiJcrs,  in  which  the  attempt 
is  made  to  secure  a  mystical  union  with  the  divine 
through  an  emotional  or  sub-conscious  bond,  are 
carried  on  under  the  personal  leadership  of  a  murshid. 
The  religion  of  the  Kurds,  who  are  Sunnis  and  not 
Shf  as,  has  for  one  of  its  main  principles  allegiance 
to  their  shaikhs,  by  whom  they  swear  and  to  whom 
they  do  abject  reverence.  This  allegiance  is  not 
tribal  nor  wholly  hereditary,  and  to  some  extent  it 
is  voluntary,  i.e.,  the  individual  chooses  the  religious 
leader  whom  he  accepts.  The  authority  descends 
more  or  less  from  father  to  son,  but  it  is  based 
originally  on  a  reputation  for  ascetic  holiness  and 
devotion  to  religion.  These  shaikhs  are,  in  many 
cases  at  least,  descended  from  the  Sayyids,  or  reputed 
descendants  of  the  Prophet.  The  idea  of  personal 
authority  underlies  the  ecclesiastical  organization 
in  Persian  Islam,  if  it  can  properly  be  called  an 
organization.  There  is  no  formal  hierarchy,  although 
the  authority  of  the  mujtdhids,  or  accepted  expounders 
of  the  law,  is  very  great.  The  basis  of  the  authority 
in  practice,  if  not  in  theory,  is  democratic,  and  the 

54       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

measure  of  a  mujtahuTs  authority  is  largely  the 
amount  and  character  of  his  popular  following. 
Certain  places,  especially  sacred  shrines  like  Kerbala 
and  Meshed  and  to  a  less  extent  cities  of  political 
importance,  are  recognized  as  sees  of  religious 
authority ;  but  the  choice  of  the  occupant  of  any 
given  see  is  exceedingly  irregular  and  democratic. 
Acquaintance  with  a  Persian  will  often  reveal  the 
fact  that  he  is  the  disciple  (murld)  of  some  miytahid, 
or  it  may  be  of  a  less  authorized  religious  teacher, 
whom  he  regards  as  in  a  special  sense  his  religious 
director  and  teacher.  This  element  of  personal 
influence  is  in  accordance  with  the  whole  scheme  of 
life,  in  which  favour  accorded  on  the  basis  of  friend- 
ship and  acquaintance  plays  a  great  part.  The 
shopkeeper  as  a  personal  favour  will  change  his 
price  and  the  official  will  for  your  sake  grant  what 
is  only  your  right.  In  civil  life  men  will  often  put 
themselves  under  the  protection  of  some  powerful 
man,  who  has  no  legal  claim  on  their  allegiance,  and 
he  will  accept  them  as  his  proteges.  In  religion  this 
idea  is  found  in  the  mediatorship  of  the  prophets 
and  holy  men  with  Mohammed  at  their  head,  for 
whose  sake  the  Ruler  of  the  universe  grants  favours 
and  forgives  sin. 

It  will  be  noted  that  the  religious  forces  named 
do  not  all  strictly  belong  to  Islam.  A  full  account 
would  include  a  great  mass  of  belief  in  magic,  evil 
eye,  charms,  shrines,  fortune-tellers,  and  such  like, 

Second  Study— W.  A.  Shedd  55 

which  cannot  be  described  briefly  and  yet  play  a 
large  part  in  the  religious  life  of  the  people.  For 
example,  in  the  city  where  the  writer  lives  one  of 
the  principal  figures  is  a  woman,  a  Jewish  proselyte 
to  Islam,  who  is  something  of  a  ventriloquist  and 
evidently  very  shrewd.  She  claims  to  have  a  spirit 
at  her  service  whom  she  calls  Mohammed,  who  finds 
lost  articles,  gives  information  as  to  absent  relatives, 
or  foretells  the  future.  She  is  consulted  by  all 
classes,  including  many  Christians.  Similarly 
Christian  shrines  are  visited  by  Moslems  to  secure 
the  favour  of  the  patron  saint.  In  a  more  intel- 
lectual way  eclecticism  is  a  living  force.  The  tend- 
ency among  many  who  are  weary  of  the  burdens  and 
frivolities  of  traditional  Islam  is  to  fall  back  on  a 
more  or  less  vague  theism,  which  is  taken  as  the 
common  foundation  of  the  great  religions.  One  is 
often  told  that  the  revelation  is  the  same,  though 
the  mediums  of  revelation  vary,  that  the  actor  is 
the  same,  though  the  mask  and  voice  are  changed. 
This  has  a  basis  in  the  claim  of  Mohammed  that  his 
message  is  the  same  in  substance  as  that  of  Abraham 
and  succeeding  prophets.  It  is  often  joined  with 
faith  in  some  special  religious  leader,  who  claims  to 
guide  men  anew  in  the  one  way  of  life. 

Dissatisfaction  with    Islam   may  be  traced  along 
two    lines.     One    is    the   expressed   statements    of 

56       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

individuals,  and  the  other  the  attempt  to  supply 
deficiencies  by  importing  and  developing  practices 
from  without.  Perhaps  the  second  is  the  more 
significant.  The  most  outspoken  complaint  is 
against  the  mullas  and  traditional  practices  favoured 
by  them.  A  cartoon  in  a  paper  published  in 
Turkish  by  Moslems  of  Tiflis  pictures  the  old  and 
new  eras.  In  the  former  a  mulla  is  pulling  a  crowd 
of  men  along  by  a  rope,  while  in  the  latter  the  rope 
is  broken  and  the  mulla  is  tumbling  headlong.  A 
Mohammedan  recently  made  the  statement  that 
in  certain  regions  to  call  a  man  an  akhfund  (or 
preacher)  is  equivalent  to  reviling  him.  This  is  a 
revolt  against  abuses  that  are  capable  of  reform 
without  touching  the  essence  of  the  faith.  The 
nationalist  revival  in  Persia  leads  occasionally  to 
revolt  against  Islam  as  a  foreign  religion  imposed 
on  Persia  by  conquerors.  An  expression  of  this 
feeling  in  a  newspaper  was  the  cause  of  its  suppres- 
sion. There  is  complaint  against  the  minute  and 
vexatious  requirements  of  the  law,  which  expresses 
itself  largely  in  the  neglect  of  those  requirements. 
There  is  a  growing  looseness  in  the  keeping  of  the 
fast,  though  the  breach  is  mainly  in  private  and  not 
in  public.  A  zealous  progressive  suggested  in  his 
newspaper  the  abolition  of  the  veil  for  women,  with 
the  result  that  he  stayed  a  long  time  in  prison. 
This  complaint  against  the  law  strikes  at  one  of  the 
fundamentals  of  the  religion  ;  for  while  the  law  may 

Second  Study— W.  A.  Shedd  57 

be  drastically  pruned  without  touching  the  Koran, 
its  roots  and  some  of  its  branches  are  in  the  holy 
book.  Babism,  or  Bahaism,  is  largely  an  expression 
of  this  dissatisfaction,  which  it  meets  not  by  doing 
away  with  ritual  law  but  by  substituting  a  new  law 
for  the  old.  Any  attempt  to  establish  legislative 
government  is  bound  to  accentuate  this  conflict,  for 
the  idea  of  Islam  is  that  government  is  not  estab- 
lished to  make  law,  but  to  enforce  the  already 
existing  sacred  law,  which  covers  all  departments  of 

An  element  of  apparent  strength  in  Islam  is  the 
brevity  and  simplicity  of  its  creed  and  the  way  of 
salvation  it  offers.  This  is  an  apparent  element  of 
strength,  because  there  is  a  great  latitude  of  freedom, 
provided  only  the  articles  of  faith  are  professed. 
The  Mohammedanism  of  the  schools  is  supplemented 
by  a  multitude  of  beliefs  and  practices,  which  are  for 
the  most  part  not  Mohammedan  in  origin ;  and 
even  the  scholastic  theology,  through  the  medium 
or  under  cover  of  the  traditions,  has  incorporated 
foreign  elements.  Almost  any  sect  is  tolerated  in 
Persia,  provided  only  that  the  creed,  the  fast,  and 
a  few  other  matters  are  respected  so  far  as  out- 
ward profession  is  concerned.  The  history  of  the 
incorporation  of  Sufiism  and  the  theory  and  practice 
of  mysticism  are  to  the  point.  These  sentences 
are  being  written  on  the  tenth  of  Muharram,  the 
anniversary  of  the  tragedy  of  Kerbala,  in  the  mind 

58       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

of  the  Shi'ites  the  great  martyrdom  of  history. 
From  the  city  come  the  sounds  of  the  mourning 
processions  that  pass  along  the  streets,  and  they 
bring  to  the  imagination  the  long  lines  of  men  and 
boys  beating  and  cutting  themselves  in  token  of 
their  participation  in  the  grief  of  the  tragedy. 
To-day  is  the  great  day,  but  for  ten  days  private 
and  public  life  has  been  subordinated  to  the  same 
religious  purpose.  Sermons,  poems,  theatrical  re- 
presentations, and  religious  symbolism  have  all  kept 
before  the  mind  the  day  of  Kerbala.  This  is  the 
great  religious  demonstration  of  the  year  and  also 
the  national  and  patriotic  celebration.  Not  only  in 
its  historical  basis  is  it  later  than  Mohammed  but 
in  its  theological  idea  it  is  not  Koranic.  The  bases 
on  which  it  rests  are  the  Imamat  and  atonement 
through  suffering,  the  abiding  presence  of  the  divine 
in  humanity  and  forgiveness  based  on  propitiation. 
It  is  an  attempt  to  meet  the  deep  needs  of  the 
human  heart  which  were  ignored  by  the  Prophet, 
and  to  make  of  Islam  a  national  faith  in  spite  of 
the  Arabs  who  murdered  the  descendants  of  the 
Prophet.  Strangely  enough  the  fiercest  partisans 
of  the  house  of  'All  and  the  most  fanatical  patriots 
are  Turkish  subjects  of  Persia,  who  nevertheless 
claim  the  heritage  of  Iran  and  not  of  Turan.  The 
civilized  and  irreligious  Persian  may  scoff  at  the 
ceremonies  of  Muharram,  or  grumblingly  make 
public  compliance  to  its  demands,  but  it  is  the 

Second  Study— W.  A.  Shedd  59 

central  fact  in  religion  for  the  vast  majority  of 
Persian  Shi'ites.  The  preaching  in  the  village 
mosques  mainly  concerns  itself  with  the  story  of  the 
Imams  and  bases  the  hope  of  salvation  on  their 
sufferings.  Surely  here  is  a  deep  and  widespread, 
though  unconscious,  dissatisfaction,  which  in  order 
to  meet  its  need  has  created  a  myth  and  founded  a 
national  cult. 


The  attempt  may  next  be  made  to  determine 
the  attitude  of  the  Mohammedan  to  Christianity, 
and  to  see  how  contact  with  it  affects  him.  He 
is  brought  up  to  look  on  Christianity  as  a  religion 
whose  day  is  past,  or  possibly  as  one  that  answers 
well  enough  for  the  Christians  but  which  is  inferior 
to  Islam.  The  question  between  Islam  and  Chris- 
tianity was  closed  long  ago  by  the  Prophet  and 
sealed  by  the  victories  of  the  former.  Islam  was 
predicted,  he  believes,  by  Jesus  Christ,  and  the 
failure  to  accept  it  is  due  partly  to  the  fact  that 
the  true  Injil  was  taken  to  heaven,  and  what 
remains  is  a  book  of  distorted  traditions.  New 
light  may  arise  for  Islam  by  the  coming  of  the 
Imam  Mahdi  or  by  some  working  of  the  hidden 
Imam,  but  not  from  Christianity.  This  assured 
position  is  shaken  perhaps  by  the  discovery  that 
among  some  Christians  there  is  a  degree  of  truth- 
fulness and  unselfish  service,  such  as  he  has  not 

60      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

found  in  Islam;  while  further  acquaintance  may 
reveal  to  him  that  his  ideas  as  to  the  beliefs  of 
Christianity  were  largely  erroneous,  for  example, 
that  the  Trinity  is  not  three  separate  Persons, 
two  of  whom  were  of  human  origin,  and  that 
Christ  is  not  regarded  as  the  Son  of  God  in  the 
sense  that  he  had  supposed.  On  the  other  hand, 
the  superficial  contact  of  a  Mohammedan  with 
Christians  may  have  a  repellent  influence.  Most 
of  them  meet  him  only  in  trade  and  their  object 
is  to  get  the  best  of  him  in  a  bargain.  Others, 
it  may  be,  are  representatives  of  European  Powers, 
which  according  to  his  belief  are  set  on  exploiting 
if  not  destroying  his  nation.  Western  social  habits 
are  such  as  to  be  misunderstood  and  often  to  cause 
baseless  scandal.  To  his  mind  many  of  the  Euro- 
peans whom  he  knows  seem  to  be  destitute  of 
religion.  A  Persian  who  professes  no  religion  and 
whose  language  is  devoid  of  religious  expressions  is 
practically  unknown,  although  his  profession  may  be 
very  different  from  his  actual  belief.  The  mutual 
recriminations  of  Christians  of  different  sects  have 
their  share  in  strengthening  his  prejudices  against 
all,  though  he  has  too  often  heard  the  tradition 
that  there  will  be  seventy-two  or  seventy-three 
sects  in  Islam  to  regard  division  as  much  of  an 
argument  against  a  religion.  The  above  is  not  a 
complete  statement  of  the  difficulties  that  lie  in 
the  way  of  a  Moslem  giving  to  Christianity  a  fair 

Second  Study— W.  A.  Shedd  61 

hearing.  The  fear  of  the  consequences  of  conversion, 
caused  by  the  intolerance  of  Islam,  is  an  important 
element.  Ignorance,  prejudice,  contempt  of  subject 
races,  misunderstanding,  suspicion,  fanatical  pride, 
and  the  effect  of  the  sins,  errors,  and  lack  of  tact  on 
the  part  of  Christians  help  to  pile  up  obstacles. 

Other  difficulties  come  up  when  he  gives  to 
Christianity  a  hearing.  The  doctrines  of  the 
Trinity  and  of  the  deity  of  our  Lord  have  been 
obstacles  from  the  time  of  the  Koran,  and  they 
are  often  made  more  difficult  by  the  manner  of 
their  presentation.  If  he  is  persuaded  to  read  the 
New  Testament,  he  may  find  new  difficulties  in 
the  form  of  the  book,  which  is  so  unlike  his  idea 
of  what  a  sacred  book  should  be.  He  may  be 
struck  with  the  absence  of  law,  which  he  has  been 
taught  is  the  object  above  all  others  of  revelation. 
He  has  been  taught  that  Christ  was  not  really 
crucified,  and  so  he  is  puzzled  by  the  story  of 
the  crucifixion  and  the  resurrection.  The  com- 
posite authorship  of  the  book  is  also  against  his 
preconceived  ideas.  Possibly,  too,  the  Christians 
seem  to  him  in  their  informal  references  to  the 
Bible  and  unconventional  use  of  it  not  to  show 
the  reverence  due  to  a  divine  book.  His  whole 
conception  of  religion  is  very  different  from  the 
Christian  conception.  He  has  been  taught — and 
even  liberal  Moslems  seem  to  believe  it — that  in 
the  Koran  are  to  be  found  science,  jurisprudence, 

62      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

politics,  social  ethics,  and  all  else  that  enters  into 
human  life.  The  present  leader  of  the  Bahais, 
'Abbas  Effendi,  states  this  idea  of  religion  very 
definitely  in  relation  to  the  Manifestation  or 
Educator,  whose  guidance  is  to  include  by  way 
of  definite  instruction  every  sphere  of  life.  New 
Testament  Christianity  makes  no  such  claim.  It 
is  a  gospel,  centred  in  the  life,  teaching,  death 
and  resurrection  of  Jesus  Christ.  The  miraculous 
element  in  the  life  is  not  a  difficulty  to  the 
Moslem.  Much  in  the  teaching  he  cannot  but 
admire,  though  the  form  is  not  what  he  expects. 
The  chief  offence  is  the  cross.  Recently  I  looked 
over  some  popular  religious  manuals  published  in 
the  Transcaucasian  (or  Azerbaijan)  Turkish  by 
the  more  progressive  Moslems.  In  them  the  story 
of  Jesus  is  that  founded  on  the  suggestion  of 
the  Koran  that  He  was  rescued  by  God  from 
death,  some  one  else  dying  in  His  stead.  The 
New  Testament  says  that  Christ  died  for  sinners, 
willingly  offering  Himself.  The  Moslem  says 
that  a  sinner  died  unwillingly  in  Christ's  stead. 
For  the  glory  of  sacrifice  the  Moslem  substitutes 
an  escape  wrought  by  God.  This  is  done  not 
out  of  perverseness,  but  from  a  desire  to  honour 
the  Lord  Jesus  by  saving  Him  from  the  shame 
of  the  cross.  Little  wonder  that  the  epistles  do 
not  appeal  with  power  to  Moslems,  for  they  are 
saturated  with  faith  in  the  death  of  Jesus.  The 

Second  Study— PP.  A.  Shedd  63 

conception  of  religion  is  different,  and  with  this  go 
different  conceptions  of  salvation,  of  sin,  and  of 
forgiveness.  The  evangelical  Christian  and  the 
Moslem  move  religiously  on  different  planes. 

Another  difficulty  lies  in  the  sphere  of  character 
and  ethical  practice.  The  most  deep-seated  de- 
moralization in  Persian  character  is  the  result  of 
the  intolerance  of  Islam.  Very  possibly  it  goes 
back  to  the  rule  of  the  Zoroastrian  clergy  under 
the  Sassanian  kings,  but  at  all  events  it  was  in- 
tensified by  the  Arab  conquest.  One  may  believe 
that  the  conception  of  an  almighty  and  living 
God  preached  with  the  force  of  faith  was  a  great 
factor  in  the  conquest  of  Persia  by  Islam  ;  but  the 
sword  was  the  most  prominent  factor  and  there 
must  have  been  much  insincere  profession.  As 
time  passed  and  the  irresistible  speculativeness  of 
the  Persian  mind  produced  variations  of  doctrine, 
some  of  them  revolutionary  in  character,  the  in- 
sincerity became  more  widespread,  particularly 
among  the  intellectuals.  Finally  Shi'ite  Islam 
formally  recognized  the  rightfulness  of  insincere 
profession  ;  and  this  theory  of  ethics  is  accepted 
by  every  Persian  sect,  including  the  Bahals,  and  is 
practised  by  all.  The  greatest  difficulty  in  presenting 
truth  to  a  Persian  is  not  the  separation  in  intel- 
lectual conceptions  and  religious  ideals,  but  the  lack 
of  sincerity  and  frankness  in  all  religious  intercourse. 
Christianity  must  not  and  cannot  meet  men  on  any 

64      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

basis  but  that  of  truthfulness,  and  that  common 
meeting-place  is  hard  to  secure  in  Persia.  This 
insincerity  may  be  covered  by  politeness,  affability, 
and  intellectual  acuteness,  but  at  bottom  it  is 
stubborn  and  ugly. 


The  solvent  that  removes  the  prejudices  of 
Moslems  is  love  expressed  in  beneficent  deeds  and 
in  unselfish  character.  Probably  the  greatest  work 
that  Christian  missions  have  done  in  Mohammedan 
lands  is  to  present  in  life  and  deed  the  fruits  of 
Christianity.  Hospitals,  schools,  relief  of  poverty, 
and  integrity  and  honour  in  daily  life  have  pre- 
sented a  new  idea  of  service,  religion,  and  manhood. 
This  ideal  differs  from  that  of  the  saints  of  Islam. 
The  position  of  woman  in  the  Christian  home  and 
society  has  an  attraction,  especially  for  women. 
Many  of  them  realize  something  of  the  evils  caused 
by  polygamy  and  divorce,  and  in  general  the 
relation  of  the  sexes  is  so  different  in  the  two 
religions  that  the  contrast  cannot  but  be  striking. 
More  important  than  institutional  Christianity  is 
the  influence  of  personal  character  in  the  social 
relations  of  life.  Just  what  this  has  meant  in 
Persia  is  shown  in  the  biography  of  Dr.  Cochran1 

1  The  Foreign  Doctor :  A  Biography  of  Joseph  Plumb 
Cochran,  M.D.,  of  Persia.  New  York  :  Fleming  H.  Revell 
Company,  1911. 

Second  Study— W.  A.  Shedd  65 

by  Dr.  Robert  E.  Speer.  After  his  death  Dr. 
Cochran's  character  was  lauded  by  one  of  the  most 
orthodox  preachers  in  Urumia  in  a  sermon  in  the 
mosque,  and  no  one  can  tell  how  many  prejudices 
were  softened  by  that  life  of  sincere  service.  The 
solvent  that  will  remove  the  mass  of  misconception 
and  mis-information  is  knowledge  imparted  in  as 
non-controversial  a  way  as  possible.  Much  is  being 
done  to  accomplish  this  indirectly,  but  there  is  need 
also  for  direct  efforts  in  this  direction.  Not  long 
since  a  mulla  was  for  a  few  months  a  patient  in  a 
missionary  hospital.  He  was  a  preacher  of  con- 
siderable reputation  in  l^s  home  city,  and  so  he 
would  influence  the  opinion  of  others  as  to  Chris- 
tianity. Before  he  left  he  asked  for  several  copies 
of  a  little  book  that  states  in  an  uncontroversial 
way  the  doctrines  of  evangelical  Christianity,  in 
order  that  he  might  show  his  Moslem  friends  how 
erroneous  were  their  ideas  of  the  Christian  religion. 
The  social  and  political  results  of  Christianity  are 
far  less  effective  than  its  manifestation  in  personal 
character.  For  one  thing,  the  Oriental  has  not 
learned  to  judge  religion  by  such  standards,  and 
besides,  the  faults  and  shortcomings  of  western 
civilization  are  obtruded  on  his  view.  Influences  from 
the  West  are  tending  to  undermine  Islam  and  are 
producing  scepticism  and  materialism,  and  the  most 
constructive  of  them  is  the  missionary  influence. 
The  purity  and  nobility  of  the  moral  ideas  set 

66      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

forth  in  the  teachings  of  Jesus  attract  some.  A 
teacher  of  Moslem  theology  of  some  prominence 
once  remarked  to  the  writer  that  he  believed  that 
the  teacher  par  excellence  of  morals  and  manhood  is 
Jesus  Christ.  Some  sayings,  such  as  those  about 
marriage,  are  criticized  as  impracticable,  but  never- 
theless the  attraction  of  the  ideal  is  great.  Another 
attractive  element  in  the  ethical  character  of 
Christianity  is  its  adaptability  to  progress  and 
freedom,  because  its  ethics  are  not  embodied  in  a 
legal  code  and  because  religion  in  its  origins  is  not 
tied  up  with  government.  Argument  along  this 
line  at  least  gains  a  respectful  hearing.  Some  see 
that  church  and  state  in  Islam  are  inseparable, 
or  separable  only  under  non-Moslem  rule,  and 
that  this  is  a  great  obstacle  to  social  progress. 
The  contrast  on  this  point  between  Christ  and 
Mohammed  can  be  very  helpful.  One  young  man 
of  uncommon  purity  of  character  was  attracted  to 
Christianity  by  the  contrast  between  the  sensual 
paradise  of  Islam  and  the  spiritual  heaven  of  which 
his  teacher  told  him  and  which  he  found  in  the 
New  Testament.  Especially  with  the  simple  and 
more  ignorant  the  gospel  story  of  our  Lord  is 
attractive.  The  learned  are  apt  to  lose  its  beauty 
in  the  marvellous  legends  of  Jesus  found  in  the 
Traditions.  The  gospel  story  takes  the  hearer  into 
the  heart  of  Christianity,  and  it  brings  up  in  a 
non-controversial  way  the  fundamental  differences 

Second  Study— W.  A.  Shedd  67 

between  Christianity  and  Islam.  As  already 
pointed  out,  the  death  and  resurrection  of  Christ 
have  no  place  in  Mohammedanism,  and  with  this 
is  connected  the  vital  difference  in  the  conception 
of  salvation.  So  also  anything  that  will  lead 
Moslems  to  read  the  Scriptures  is  of  great  value. 
They  at  least  will  have  many  misconceptions 
corrected  and  may  be  led  to  deeper  inquiry.  The 
greatest  attractive  force  is  Christ  Himself.  No 
Moslem  can  speak  of  Him  with  anything  but 
reverence,  and  we  can  let  Him  speak  in  His  words 
in  the  gospels.  The  most  uncompromising  claims 
of  Christianity  are  in  those  words.  Just  so  far  as 
we  can  base  His  claims  on  His  own  words,  we  make 
them  strong.  We  must  present  Him,  as  He  offered 
Himself,  as  the  light  and  truth  of  the  world  and 
as  the  saviour  and  king  of  men. 

A  topic  of  importance  is  the  relation  of  the 
teachings  of  Islam  to  those  of  Christianity.  The 
history  of  the  rise  and  development  of  Islam  would 
lead  one  to  expect  a  close  relation,  and  experience 
shows  that  the  relation  is  complicated.  A 
Mohammedan  receives  Christian  truth  into  a  mind 
filled  with  a  large  amount  of  belief.  These  pre- 
vious beliefs  can  by  no  possibility  be  all  expelled, 
even  if  it  were  desirable.  Any  attempt  to  dis- 
possess a  man  of  all  his  religious  convictions  in  order 

68      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

that  he  may  receive   a   totally  new  set   is  absurd. 
Furthermore,  Christian  faith  is  not  a  set  of  beliefs, 
but  the  acceptance  of  a  personal  saviour ;  and  faith 
itself  must   be   trusted   to   take   possession  of  the 
heart  and  mind  and  to  expel  the  alien  affections 
and  opinions.     With  a  man  born  into  a  Christian 
environment  a  more  or  less  definite  set  of  Christian 
beliefs  forms  a  part  of  that  environment.     He  may 
himself  conclude  later  that  the  beliefs  are  only  partly 
Christian,  or  are  only  partially  true  to  the  facts  of 
science  or  experience,  and   in   all  probability,  con- 
sciously or   unconsciously,  the   beliefs   will   change. 
Every  intelligent  Christian  must   be  more   or   less 
aware  of  such  a  process  in  his  experience.     We  must 
expect  a  similar  process  in  the  case  of  the   Moham- 
medan who  is  drawn  to  Christ,  and  must  not  despise 
the  day  of  small  things.    On  the  other  hand,  in  order 
that  a  man  should  look  to  Christ  as  a  saviour  there 
must  be  certain  convictions,  e.g.,  that  he  is  himself 
in  need  of  salvation,  that  there  is  a  divine  power  that 
seeks  to  save,  and  that  sin  is  not  the  inevitable  con- 
dition of  mankind.     As  he  inquires  after  Christ,  he 
finds  that  Christ  Himself  makes  certain  assertions 
regarding  God  and  man,  and  makes  certain  claims 
regarding  Himself.     It  is  not  necessary  or  possible 
that   the   sinner   seeking   a   saviour   should   accept 
definitely  or  understand  fully  all  that  is  involved  in 
those  assertions  and  claims ;  but  it  is  inconceivable, 
for  example,  that  a  man   should  accept  Christ  as 

Second  Study— W.  A.  Shedd  69 

saviour  and  not  say  after  Him,  '  Our  Father  who  art 
in  heaven.' 

The  beliefs  that  seem  thus  to  be  inextricably 
related  to  the  acceptance  of  salvation  in  Christ  are 
not  the  same  as  those  which  revelation  and  Christian 
history  have  found  it  necessary  to  elaborate  regard- 
ing the  facts  of  spiritual  life,  and  which  may  be 
essential  in  the  subsequent  Christian  life.  Even 
these  latter  cannot  be  ignored  altogether  in  pre- 
senting the  Christian  faith  to  a  Mohammedan. 
For  example,  the  doctrine  of  the  Trinity  has  been 
accepted  by  the  Church  and  has  become  a  part  of 
its  living  experience.  To  the  Mohammedan,  as  to 
most  Christians,  this  doctrine  stands  in  the  fore- 
front of  Christianity  as  a  presupposition,  and  not 
as  a  product  of  Christian  life.  The  Christian 
missionary,  although  he  may  not  believe  that  it  is 
one  of  the  primary  doctrines  for  an  inquirer,  cannot 
ignore  it  or  say  that  it  belongs  to  esoteric  Chris- 
tianity, for  there  is  no  such  distinction,  and  cannot 
be.  The  missionary  must  meet  the  issue  and  state 
the  belief  of  Christians  in  the  way  best  calculated 
to  give  the  true  impression,  realizing  meantime  that 
the  way  of  faith  is  the  knowledge  of  God  as  father, 
finding  in  Jesus  Christ  a  divine  saviour,  and  experi- 
encing in  his  life  the  working  of  the  Holy  Spirit. 
He  can  at  least  testify  that  this  doctrine,  which  has 
been  made  a  stumbling  block,  is  to  him  the  expres- 
sion of  the  deepest  experience  of  the  soul  and  of 

7O      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

the  facts  of  redemption,  and  can  strive  to  show 
how  it  makes  the  thought  of  God,  the  ineffable  and 
absolute,  nearer  and  richer  in  meaning,  and  intel- 
lectually more  conceivable  in  His  attributes  and 
nature  and  in  His  relation  to  His  creatures.  Other 
doctrines  that  must  be  stated  and  defended  are 
our  belief  as  to  Christ  the  Son,  and  our  acceptance 
of  the  Holy  Scriptures. 

In  brief,  while  the  great  end  of  missionary  effort 
is  not  the  substitution  of  one  set  of  beliefs  for 
another,  but  the  presentation  of  Christ  as  saviour, 
this  implies  a  certain  amount  of  doctrine,  and  in 
its  working  in  life  is  inevitably  associated  with  a 
body  of  more  or  less  definite  teaching.  One  must 
trust  the  '  implanted  word  '  to  win  the  day  for  truth, 
once  it  comes  into  close  quarters  with  error  in  the 
soul's  warfare,  and  yet  the  openness  and  honesty  of 
Christianity  require  that  we  state  our  beliefs  and 
defend  them. 

It  is  obvious  that  the  teachings  received  with 
Christianity,  and  those  accompanying  Moham- 
medanism, must  in  some  measure  lie  side  by  side 
in  the  mind  of  any  Moslem  who  receives  in  any 
degree  Christian  truth.  How  far  will  they  come 
into  conflict?  How  far  is  that  conflict  immediate 
and  how  far  is  it  more  remote  and  the  result  of 
the  working  out  of  belief?  And  how  far  will 
the  beliefs  previously  accepted  fit  in  with  and 
strengthen  those  coming  with  Christian  faith?  It 

Second  Study— W.  A.  Shedd  71 

is  the  conviction  of  the  writer  that  there  is  no 
immediate  casting  off  of  one  belief  in  God  and 
the  acceptance  of  another.  Christians  and  Moslems 
are  both  believers  in  the  Unity,  the  one  God, 
creator  and  controller  of  all  things.  Probably  no 
Mohammedan  would  seriously  object  to  the  reply 
in  the  Westminster  Catechism  to  the  question, 
'What  is  God?'  except  perhaps  to  the  word 
6  Spirit,'  and  then  largely  because  of  a  confusion  of 
terms.  As  the  Christian  revelation  and  experience 
fill  the  word  'God'  with  richer  meaning,  the 
Mohammedan  will  find  how  utterly  inadequate 
his  conception  was  and  alien  elements  will  dis- 
appear. Our  part  is  to  strive  to  lead  men  to  find 
the  Father,  or  to  find  that  Allah  is  Father,  and 
that  this  name  is  greater  than  all  those  recounted 
on  the  beads  of  the  pious.  The  type  of  Christian 
doctrine  needed  is  not  the  high  Calvinism  that 
would  limit  His  Fatherhood,  nor  is  it  the 
inchoate  belief  in  a  power  working  for  righteous- 
ness. We  have  no  right  to  lose  the  sturdiness  of 
the  Mohammedan's  faith,  though  we  may  deplore 
its  bareness  of  ethical  content  and  the  remoteness 
of  God  from  the  heart.  The  Persian  idea  of  God 
is  not  so  rigid  as  the  Arab's,  perhaps  because  his 
home  is  not  in  the  wastes  of  the  desert,  and  one 
has  the  right  to  use  faith  in  God's  immanence, 
though  it  may  have  degenerated  into  pantheism ; 
his  yearning  for  an  incarnation,  though  it  has  led 

72       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

to   subjugation   to   unworthy   pretenders;    and  his 
revolt  from  absolute  fatalism. 

The  second  article  in  the  creed  of  Islam  is 
incompatible  with  Christian  faith.  It  is  not  very 
material  what  view  is  taken  of  the  character  of 
Mohammed.  The  claims  made  by  his  western 
apologists  are  mainly  relative  to  his  age  and  not 
absolute,  as  those  of  Christ,  and  if  admitted  go 
only  a  little  way  to  substantiate  what  the  Moham- 
medan means  in  confessing  that  Mohammed  is  the 
Prophet  of  God.  He  means  that  Mohammed  is 
the  last  of  the  prophets  and  the  greatest  of  all. 
Even  those  sects  that  believe  in  a  later  manifesta- 
tion maintain  Mohammed  in  the  highest  rank, 
and  maintain  that  he  superseded  his  predecessors. 
And  in  popular  Islam  the  glorification  makes  him 
superhuman.  This  claim  carries  with  it  the  rejec- 
tion of  Christ  except  as  a  superseded  prophet.  It 
is  not  a  question  of  a  theory  of  the  Atonement  or 
of  the  person  of  Christ,  but  of  any  atonement, 
any  redemption,  any  incarnation  that  is  in  any 
way  unique.  The  conflict  of  claims  is  immediate 
and  cannot  be  stayed.  A  belief  that  is  involved 
in  the  prophethood  of  Mohammed  is  that  of 
revelation  through  human  mediums  and  of  sacred 
books  that  preserve  the  revelation.  The  common 
basis  here  is  undeniable,  but  its  value  may  easily 
be  over-estimated.  The  Koran  and  the  New 
Testament  are  so  dissimilar  in  structure  and 

Second  Study— W.  A.  Shedd  73 

purpose  that  it  is  useless  to  try  to  put  the  New 
Testament  in  the  place  in  which  the  Mohammedan 
puts  the  Koran.  It  is  not  enough,  however,  to 
show  that  the  Christian  conception  of  revelation  is 
different.  It  must  be  shown  to  be  richer  and 
higher,  and  such  it  is. 

It  may  be  found  in  the  end  that  the  greatest 
praeparatio  evangelica  in  Mohammedan  countries 
is  in  the  religious  life  outside  the  lines  of  the 
Koran,  and  in  the  various  semi-Mohammedan  sects. 
The  yearning  after  a  mystical  union  with  the 
Divine,  the  longing  to  see  the  divine  image  in 
some  human  life,  the  desire  for  a  way  of  forgive- 
ness opened  by  the  self-sacrifice  of  divine  love 
instead  of  the  bare  fiat  of  will,  the  vigils  and 
prayers  and  aspirations  of  poets  and  philosophers, 
may  be  the  most  powerful  Christward  forces.  It 
may  be  that  many  of  these  are  echoes  of  Christian 
truth,  for  the  witness  to  Christ  has  never  been 
entirely  wanting  in  the  lands  of  Islam ;  and  in 
any  case  they  are  from  Him,  and  He  alone  can 
guide  these  efforts  to  their  goal  and  satisfy  these 

Islam  has  one  great  lesson  to  teach  us,  the 
power  of  faith  in  a  living  God,  not  an  abstraction, 
but  One  who  rules  the  affairs  of  men.  Another 
lesson  is  similar  to  this — the  power  of  the  appeal 
to  personal  authority.  Nothing  is  more  marvellous 
in  Islam  than  the  impress  of  the  personality  of 

74      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

the  Prophet  on  men  of  alien  races  and  successive 
ages.  As  already  pointed  out,  this  force  of 
personality  is  a  striking  feature  in  the  religious 
life  of  Islam.  It  is  the  principal  means  used  in 
the  propagation  of  new  sects  and  doctrines.  For 
example,  Bahais  make  very  little  use  of  the 
printed  page,  or  of  preaching  in  the  formal  sense 
in  which  the  personality  of  the  preacher  is 
obscured  in  the  conventionality  of  the  address. 
The  chief  reliance  is  on  the  personal  efforts  of 
the  'missionaries,'  who  make  the  greatest  use  of 
informal  social  gatherings.  The  lesson  is  emphasis 
on  the  personal  claims  of  our  Lord,  and  faith 
in  the  power  of  personal  influence  exercised 
persistently  through  the  channels  of  social  inter- 
course, benevolent  work,  school  life,  or  business. 
The  missionary  message  of  Islam  has  been  in  a 
sense  a  gospel,  the  definite  proclamation  of  the 
personal  relation  of  God  to  the  individual.  This 
is  implied  in  the  requirement  that  each  Moslem 
confess  his  faith,  and  in  the  ritual  prayer.  But 
Islam  in  its  workings  is  legalistic,  and  in  developed 
Islam  the  law  is  the  great  institution  of  religion. 
The  Pauline  theology  of  free  grace,  and  the  great 
apostle's  glory  in  the  Gospel,  are  the  message 
for  Mohammedan  legalism  now  as  for  Judaistic 
legalism  in  the  first  century.  Life  among  Moham- 
medans leads  one  to  rejoice  in  the  conception  of 
Christianity  as  the  Gospel,  the  message  of  personal 

Second  Study— W.  A.  Shedd  75 

and  social  salvation.  One  rejoices  in  the  freedom 
of  Christianity  from  identification  with  any  specific 
form  of  social  or  political  organization,  and  in  the 
inapproachable  ideal  of  manhood  revealed  by 
Christ  and  being  gradually  learned  and  realized 
by  His  followers.  One  reads  with  new  joy  the 
great  words  of  the  apostles :  '  The  law  was  given 
by  Moses ;  grace  and  truth  came  by  Jesus  Christ,' 
and  'I  am  not  ashamed  of  the  gospel:  for  it  is 
the  power  of  God  unto  salvation.' 


By  Pastor  GOTTFRIED  SIMON,  Dozent  at  the 
Theologische  Schule,  Bethel  bei  Bielefeld; 
formerly  of  the  Rhenish  Missionary  Society, 



By  Pastor  GOTTFRIED  SIMON  l  (Sumatra) 

THE  observations  and  information  recorded  in  this 
article  are  based  entirely  upon  my  personal  ex- 
periences during  the  eleven  years  which  I  spent  as 
a  missionary  amongst  the  Bataks  in  Sumatra.  For 
the  last  century  there  has  been  amongst  this  tribe 
a  constantly  increasing  movement  towards  the 
acceptance  of  Islam,  a  movement  which  is  one  of 
the  final  results  of  the  six  hundred  years  of  Moslem 
propaganda  in  the  Dutch  Archipelago.  The 
character  of  Islam  as  professed  by  the  Bataks  corre- 
sponds, generally  speaking,  to  the  type  of  Moham- 
medanism which  has  developed  in  the  Dutch  East 
Indies.  It  furnishes  an  instance  also  of  the  manner 
in  which  Islam  has  found  entrance  amongst  peoples 
of  lower  culture. 

It  has  been  my  lot  to  come  into  contact  with 
Mohammedans  of  very  different  kinds ;  occasionally 
with  races  who  had  adopted  Islam  centuries  ago, 

1  This  article  was  written  in  German  ;  the  translation  into 
English  has  been  revised  by  the  author. 


8o      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

like  the  Malays  and  Javanese,  but  for  the  most 
part  with  tribes  who  had  been  converted  only  for 
a  generation.  I  have  also  had  opportunity  to 
witness  personally  the  course  of  Moslem  propaganda 
amongst  heathen  tribes  in  various  regions.  The 
Christian  congregations  which  I  have  served  con- 
sisted either  entirely  of  those  who  had  formerly 
been  Mohammedans,  or  of  pagans  who  before 
their  conversion  to  the  Gospel  had  been  hesitating 
between  Islam  and  Christianity.  The  Rhenish 
Missionary  Society,  to  which  I  belonged,  has 
received  into  its  congregations  from  6000  to  8000 
converts  from  amongst  Mohammedans.  We  may 
estimate  the  number  of  Christian  converts  from 
Mohammedanism  in  the  Dutch  East  Indies  at 
about  30,000.! 

It  is  the  propaganda  of  Islam  amongst  pagan 
nations  that  shows  most  clearly  how  far  Islam 
possesses  vital  religious  energies,  for  we  cannot 
fully  explain  the  transition  of  pagans  to  Islam  as 
the  result  of  mere  worldly  motives,  though  social 
and  political  factors  undoubtedly  have  not  a  little 
to  do  with  the  change.  The  pagan  on  his  low 

1  For  details  regarding  the  statements  of  this  article, 
compare  my  work,  Islam  und  Christentum  im  Kampf  um 
die  Eroberung  der  animistischen  Heidenwelt.  2  Auflage. 
Berlin,  1914.  An  English  translation  was  published  in 
1912  :  The  Progress  and  Arrest  of  Islam  in  Sumatra. 
London  :  Marshall  Brothers. 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon  8 1 

level  of  culture  hopes  in  every  way  to  be  lifted  by 
joining  Islam.  He  is  further  impelled  towards  it 
by  his  anxiety  lest  he  should  be  politically  ex- 
tinguished through  the  irresistible  preponderance 
of  a  foreign  government.  Islam  appears  to  him  to 
be  a  power  on  a  level  with  the  European  colonial 
Government,  and  in  it  he  hopes  to  gain  a  bulwark 
which  may  enable  him  to  retain,  if  not  his  political, 
at  least  his  religious  independence.  In  earlier  times 
the  favour  shown  to  Islam  by  the  colonial  Govern- 
ment had  a  tendency  to  induce  pagans  to  adopt 
the  religion  of  the  crescent.  At  present  the  Dutch 
Government  is  not  so  much  inclined  as  formerly  to 
take  the  part  of  Islam,  but  notwithstanding  this 
many  government  provisions  still  help  to  further 
the  popular  movement  in  its  favour.  The  Malay 
language,  generally  written  in  Arabic  script,  is 
regarded  as  a  second  sacred  language  next  to  the 
Arabic ;  it  is  in  general  use  as  the  official  language 
of  administration  and  justice,  and  is  the  lingua 
franca  of  the  Dutch  East  Indies.  The  native 
officials,  writers,  and  soldiers,  and  the  teachers  in 
the  secular  government  schools  are  Mohammedans, 
and  often  do  more  for  the  Mohammedan  propa- 
ganda than  is  now  acceptable  to  their  European 

In  the   last  resort,  however,  it  is  the  religious 
substance  of  the   Moslem  doctrine  which   attracts 
the  heathen,  for  the  animist   is   of  a   thoroughly 

82       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

religious  disposition  and  it  is  his  religious  inherit- 
ance which  under  present  circumstances  he  finds  to 
be  seriously  imperilled.  These  peoples,  who  were 
hitherto  without  a  history  or  civilization  worthy 
of  the  name,  have  perforce  entered  into  the  main 
stream  of  the  world's  history  and  culture  and  be- 
come exposed  to  the  critical  conditions  which  such 
entrance  involves ;  this  transition  has  destroyed  the 
foundations  of  the  popular  religion,  which  was 
too  naiTow  and  circumscribed  to  meet  the  require- 
ments of  modern  conditions.  Their  reverence  for 
ancestors,  their  fear  of  spirits  and  such  respect  as 
they  had  for  the  God  in  whom,  though  at  a  great 
distance,  they  believed,  are  all  tottering.  The  old 
religious  powers  on  whose  incalculable  favour  the 
hopes  of  the  pagan  were  founded  have  proved  to 
be  entirely  inadequate.  They  have  no  power  to 
delay  the  destruction  of  the  freedom  and  the 
nationality  of  the  people,  who  are  therefore  seeking 
a  new  religious  foundation  which  will  give  them  a 
better  support  under  the  conditions  of  the  modern 

Unless  the  Bataks  had  believed  that  Islam  would 
help  them  in  this  respect  they  would  not  have 
become  Mohammedans.  At  the  outset  the  pro- 
clamation of  the  unity  of  God  in  its  absoluteness 
makes  a  strong  impression  upon  the  pagan.  The 
old  polytheism,  and  still  more  the  old  polydae- 
monism,  tended  to  draw  the  soul  of  the  pagan 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon  83 

restlessly  to  and  fro.  He  would  often  begin  his 
prayer  with  a  long  repetition  of  the  names  of  all 
the  gods  which  he  knew,  but  was  none  the  less 
oppressed  by  anxiety  lest  he  should  have  omitted 
some  mighty  divinity,  and  so  he  would  pray  to  the 
gods  whom  he  knew  to  pass  on  his  desires  to  those 
whom  he  might  have  forgotten.  Such  perplexity 
and  anxiety  was  done  away  with  by  prayer  to  one 
almighty  Allah.  The  proof  that  the  latter  really 
possesses  the  power  which  the  Moslem  teacher 
ascribes  to  him  is  furnished  by  the  economic  pre- 
ponderance of  the  Moslem  trader,  the  social 
superiority  of  the  Moslem  government  official,  and 
the  intellectual  superiority  of  the  Moslem  school- 
master. Most  of  all,  the  mind  of  the  people  is 
impressed  by  the  belief  that  the  Moslem  magician 
entirely  overshadows  the  heathen  medicine  man, 
because  he  has  received  his  magical  powers  direct 
from  Allah.  The  brutal  insolence  with  which  the 
proud  pilgrim  from  Mecca  spurns  the  superstiti- 
tious  beliefs  of  the  pagan,  which  hitherto  have 
been  considered  as  above  question,  convinces  the 
pagan  that  firm  faith  in  Allah  confers  an  over- 
whelming power  upon  men. 

This  one  God  is  no  human  invention.  The 
Moslem  appeals  to  a  book,  the  Koran,  from  which 
he  quotes.  True,  the  pagan  does  not  understand 
its  Arabic  words,  but  he  sees  that  the  employment 
of  these  '  book  words '  confers  upon  him  who  quotes 

84       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

them  a  remarkable  assurance  of  manner.  He  easily 
comes  to  the  conclusion  that  the  possession  of  a 
divine  revelation  embodied  in  writing  and  thus 
unchangeable  is  an  immense  advantage,  for  hitherto 
he  has  known  only  oral  tradition,  which  is  subject 
to  continual  modifications,  a  few  written  magical 
formulas,  and  a  mythology  which  is  highly  developed 
but  constantly  modified  by  the  imaginative  story- 
teller. He  has  no  infallible  document.  Speaking 
generally,  he  attributes  the  wisdom  of  the  fathers 
not  to  God  but  to  the  fathers  themselves ;  they  got 
it  from  somewhere,  perhaps  actually  from  within 
themselves,  but  at  all  events  not  from  God.  In 
Islam,  on  the  contrary,  the  one  God  speaks  through 
the  one  book  to  the  one  race  of  man.  Thus  the 
pagan  who  has  hitherto  been  groping  among  the 
many  perplexities  of  life  has  found  a  firm  standing 
ground.  In  the  hour  of  death,  too,  the  Moham- 
medan has  a  comfort  which  the  heathen  does  not 
possess.  The  latter  has  a  belief  in  an  existence 
beyond  the  grave,  but  it  is  one  which  fills  him 
with  terror,  whether  he  is  destined  to  hover  eter- 
nally in  the  air  without  rest  as  an  evil  spirit  or  to 
find  an  entrance  into  the  kingdom  of  the  dead. 
The  one  God,  on  the  other  hand,  promises  in  his 
one  book  to  every  Moslem  an  unspeakable  fulness 
of  bliss,  a  sevenfold  heaven  and  a  paradise  glorious 
beyond  measure.  The  more  the  animist  feels  his 
position  threatened  by  the  inrush  of  modern  culture, 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon  8  5 

and  the  more  clearly  he  becomes  conscious  of  his 
social,  political,  intellectual,  and  moral  impotence, 
with  the  more  passionate  eagerness  does  his  soul 
embrace  the  idea  of  the  promised  paradise  which 
will  bring  to  him  bliss,  and  to  the  white  man 
damnation.  Paradise  attracts  him  by  the  very 
refinement  of  sensual  gratification  :  eating  and 
drinking,  idleness  and  enjoyment  beckon  to  the 
faithful.  No  lack  of  present  earthly  well-being 
fails  to  find  its  full  compensation  in  the  life  to  come. 
Nor  does  Islam  neglect  to  provide  for  such  souls 
as  have  a  real  desire  for  inward  communion  with 
God.  There  are  wandering  teachers  who  proclaim 
the  virtue  of  the  rosary  and  who  give  directions 
for  mystical  exercises.  The  aspirant  who  desires  to 
follow  their  teachings  is  secluded  for  some  weeks, 
day  and  night,  in  a  mosque  and  allowed  little  food. 
He  is  promised  that  saints  and  prophets,  and  finally 
Allah  himself,  will  appear  in  his  soul,  and  when 
that  takes  place  the  devotee  has  reached  the  highest 
state  of  holiness.  He  has  become  confessedly  the 
favourite  of  God  and  a  certain  heir  of  paradise. 

What  influence  has  this  Mohammedan  piety  on 
the  character  of  the  believer?  The  mystical 
exercises  to  which  I  have  just  referred  give  an 
unequivocal  answer.  The  man  who  participates 
in  them  becomes  proud  and  self-satisfied.  His  need 

86      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

is  supplied.  He  requires  no  further  teaching.  He 
is  guarded  against  injury  when  in  the  grave  by  the 
angel  of  the  dead,  he  is  no  longer  liable  to  judgment 
by  the  angel  Gabriel ;  for  has  he  not  seen  God  ? 
People  will  bring  him  presents  as  to  a  prince,  and 
make  a  deeper  obeisance  before  him  than  before 
the  chief  of  a  tribe.  The  more  pious  the  Moslem 
is  the  more  pronounced  is  his  estimate  of  himself, 
and  the  greater  his  self-glorification.  In  his  case 
the  desire  for  teaching  which  the  pagan  manifested 
has  disappeared.  The  man  who  has  been  initiated 
into  the  mystic  secrets  has  obtained  the  hidden 
(batin)  knowledge  of  God.  With  his  superiors  he 
is  blase,  cringingly  polite ;  towards  unbelievers  gruff 
and  fanatical :  the  heathen  is  a  filthy  dog,  the  Chris- 
tian the  fuel  of  hell.  The  ordinary  believer  imitates 
this  revered  saint  as  closely  as  possible. 

The  result  of  this  is  that  the  common  people 
become  more  and  more  dependent ;  they  entrust 
themselves  absolutely  to  these  holy  men,  believing 
that  they  will  show  them  the  way  to  God.  Nor 
can  the  common  man  help  himself  in  this  matter. 
Were  he  to  rely  upon  himself  he  could  not  possibly 
find  his  way  in  the  labyrinth  of  the  new  religious 
ordinances.  It  would  mean  his  learning  a  foreign 
language,  Arabic,  his  reading  a  number  of  books, 
especially  the  Koran,  studying  Mohammedan  law 
with  its  regulations  for  the  smallest  details  of  life 
and  knowing  a  multitude  of  ceremonies  and  religious 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon  87 

ordinances.  Any  one  who  is  being  instructed  by  a 
Moslem  teacher,  for  example,  regarding  the  daily 
prayers,  will  soon  find  out  how  difficult  it  is  to 
attain  such  knowledge.  For  instance,  it  is  im- 
portant for  him  to  know,  when  he  places  his  fingers 
upon  his  knees  in  prayer,  how  far  they  must  extend 
over  the  limb  beyond  the  knee.  In  such  things 
there  is  only  one  man  who  can  really  guide  him, 
the  village  priest,  and  when  his  knowledge  is  ex- 
hausted it  is  necessary  to  inquire  of  the  next 
higher  religious  authority  in  the  district.  The 
Moslem  has  been  delivered  over,  bound  hand  and 
foot,  to  his  priesthood  in  matters  that  concern  his 
welfare  equally  in  this  world  and  the  next.  The 
new  Moslem  religion  thus  makes  its  adherents  the 
very  slaves  of  men,  and  that  to  a  higher  degree 
than  their  old  paganism,  although  the  pagan  is 
completely  dependent  upon  his  sorcerers. 

This  relation  we  find  takes  the  life  out  of  personal 
piety  and  paralyses  the  natural  religious  forces  of 
the  people.  The  prayer  formulas  once  learned 
mechanically  in  an  unknown  tongue  promote  mental 
sloth.  The  moral  judgment  is  deprived  of  scope 
for  action,  on  the  one  hand  by  a  casuistic  law,  and 
on  the  other  by  a  fatalism  which  denies  all  freedom 
of  the  will.  The  practical  religious  life  is  petrified 
into  dead  performances,  which  is  what  almsgiving, 
pilgrimage,  fasting,  reciting  the  Koran,  the  pre- 
scribed ritual  ablutions,  prostrations  (throwing  one- 

88       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

self  on  the  ground)  at  prayer,  so  called,  five  times  a 
day  and  the  repetition  of  incomprehensible  Arabic 
formulas  really  are.  Thus  the  inward  spiritual 
and  religious  nature  becomes  atrophied.  The  fact 
that  the  ordinary  convert  quietly  endures  such  a 
condition  of  servility  is  explained  by  the  fatalism 
which  he  brought  over  with  him  from  paganism. 
Things  are  as  they  are ;  it  is  God  s  will  that  some 
should  be  wise  and  have  good  fortune  in  this  world, 
and  that  others  should  be  robbed  and  cheated  by 
them.  He  has  fixed  the  life  destiny  of  each  man 
once  for  all  and  nothing  can  alter  it;  one  must 
accept  it  like  everything  else.  The  belief  is  not  in 
a  fate  separate  from  God,  but  in  a  God  who  is 
Himself  an  arbitrary  and  incomprehensible  fate 
against  which  it  is  futile  to  rebel. 


I  have  noticed  discontent  with  the  teaching  of 
Islam  only  amongst  those  Moslems  who  had  already 
come  into  contact  with  Christianity.  I  have, 
however,  known  of  Malay  pilgrims  who,  on  return- 
ing from  Mecca  to  the  coast  districts,  have  cast 
away  their  turbans  and  given  strong  utterance  to 
their  indignation  at  the  impositions  which  had  been 
practised  on  them  in  Mecca.  Again,  the  harsh- 
ness of  Mohammedan  priests  in  their  disregard  of 
traditional  customs  has  sometimes  elicited  passing 
displeasure.  For  instance,  when  the  village  priest 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon  89 

at  my  mission  station,  after  having  been  married 
for  several  years,  divorced  his  wife  without  returning 
to  her  a  share  of  the  marriage  portion,  the  people 
were  indignant.  And  when  the  priest  raised  the 
scale  of  offerings  and  threatened  that  if  the  people 
did  not  meet  his  demands  he  would  not  bury  them, 
they  complained,  though  without  result.  In  places 
where  the  higher  priesthood  is  in  full  agreement 
with  the  indigenous  chiefs,  the  hand  of  the  rulers 
lies  heavy  upon  the  helpless  people  and  their  minds 
are  full  of  discontent,  but  they  are  far  too  slack  to 
attempt  any  resistance.  In  some  cases  the  covetous- 
ness  of  their  teachers  is  contrasted  by  Moslems  with 
the  unselfish  love  of  faithful  missionaries  and  their 
native  assistants.  Sometimes,  too,  though  seldom, 
we  meet  men  who  are  uneasy  as  to  whether  their 
good  works  will  really  obtain  entrance  for  them 
into  paradise ;  but  the  Mohammedan  priest  himself 
declares  that  in  this  life  it  is  impossible  to  attain 
complete  assurance  that  God  will  receive  a  man 
into  heaven.  If  He  is  pleased  to  do  so  He  will, 
but  if  not  there  is  no  help  for  it.  The  Moslem  is  so 
accustomed  to  this  uncertainty  that  it  hardly  occurs 
to  him  to  consider  whether  there  might  not  be 
another  alternative. 


From  what  I  have  said  we  see  that  a  belief  in 
the  existence  of  one  God  and  a  hope  of  delights  in 

90      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

the  world  to  come  awaken  religious  impulses  in  the 
Mohammedan  Malay.  We  cannot  say  that  they 
furnish  him  with  vital  energies ;  for  the  Moslem 
belief  in  God  does  not  necessarily  involve  the  desire 
for  communion  with  Him  or  for  willing  obedience 
to  Him,  but  rather  a  helpless  submission  to  the 
almighty  will  which  dominates  everything,  and 
against  which  man  is  powerless.  The  hope  of 
Islam  in  a  world  to  come  occupies  the  fancy  and 
influences  the  desires,  but  not  the  moral  will.  The 
moral  character  and  conduct  of  the  man  is  a  matter 
of  indifference,  the  important  thing  is  that  he 
should  be  able  to  show  as  great  an  amount  as 
possible  of  meritorious  work  in  the  performance 
of  duties  and  ceremonies.  The  commonest  daily 
religious  performance  is  that  of  the  fivefold  prayer, 
but  this  does  not  satisfy  the  longing  of  the  soul  for 
God,  because  it  is  regarded  simply  as  work  delivered 
in  payment  of  His  due.  The  Moslem  desires  to 
offer  to  God  the  reverence  due  to  Him,  but  to 
establish  a  personal  relationship  between  himself 
and  God  is  far  from  his  thoughts. 

Were  we  to  examine  the  remaining  phenomena  of 
religious  life  in  Islam  on  the  same  lines,  we  should 
find  everywhere  that  personal  religious  life  is  set 
aside  in  favour  of  ceremonies,  that  duty  is  performed 
mechanically,  simply  because  it  must  be  done,  that 
fasts  are  observed  simply  because  every  one  fasts. 
No  one  dares  to  break  a  fast,  for  who  would  expose 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon  9 1 

himself  alone  to  the  curse  of  the  teachers  and 
perhaps  even  of  God  Himself?  There  may  indeed 
be  some  who  earnestly  desire  to  stand  right  with 
God,  and  some  there  are  who  undertake  the  pilgrim- 
age to  Mecca  from  this  motive.  Others  are  driven 
to  do  so  by  an  evil  conscience ;  after  a  dissolute  life 
they  desire  to  adjust  their  final  balance  of  account 
with  God ;  but  the  subsidiary  motives  which  operate 
in  the  case  of  the  ten  thousand  annual  pilgrims  from 
the  Dutch  Archipelago  are  to  a  very  small  extent  of 
a  religious  nature.  The  pilgrim  desires  to  have  an 
opportunity  of  seeing  the  world  and  later  on  to 
attain  a  respected  position  in  his  own  country  as  a 
religious  teacher,  and  this  he  can  only  acquire  by 
going  to  Mecca.  Indeed  reports  of  the  dissolute 
life  which  he  may  lead  in  Mecca  in  the  companionship 
of  beautiful  women  allure  many  a  hot-blooded  young 
man  of  the  higher  classes  to  undertake  the  pilgrim- 
age. The  pilgrimage  then  really  ceases  to  be  a 
penitential  journey  and  becomes  rather  the  holiday 
excursion  of  a  pampered  man  of  the  world.  The 
general  reverence  in  which  the  Koran  is  held  does 
not  result  from  its  fruitful  influence  upon  the 
spiritual  life  of  the  Moslem  community.  The  con- 
tents of  the  book  matter  but  little,  seeing  that  they 
are  so  slightly  known.  Its  religious  value  is  held 
to  consist  in  the  fact  that  the  believer  possesses  a 
holy  volume,  which  he  takes  in  his  hand  when  he 
has  to  swear  an  oath,  to  which  he  pays  an  idolatrous 

92       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

veneration  and  from  which  he  may  be  able  to  chant 
a  few  passages  in  order  to  gain  religious  merit. 

The  most  important  religious  possession  in  the 
eyes  of  the  brown  race  is  the  divine  gift  of 
'wisdom'  (ilmu\  as  they  call  the  Arabian  magic. 
God  is  regarded  as  the  disposer  of  innumerable 
magic  formulas,  a  portion  of  which  He  bestows  upon 
His  elect  prophets  and  saints,  and  such  bestowal  is 
a  most  especial  proof  of  His  favour,  seeing  that 
thereby  God  in  effect  delivers  Himself  into  the  hands 
of  the  believer.  The  man  who  is  able  to  use  the 
right  magic  formula  at  the  right  time  and  in  the 
right  place  has  power  over  God.  As  against  the 
Moslem  magic,  the  Almighty  Himself  is  powerless, 
He  cannot  even  prevent  a  sinner  who  is  ripe  for 
hell  being  magically  transported  into  paradise  by  a 
clever  magician,  and  hence  they  say  that  God  can 
only  be  resisted  through  God.  Accordingly,  what 
the  pagan  has  lost  in  the  way  of  magic  by  throwing 
over  his  old  religion  is  amply  restored  to  him  by 
Islam.  The  talismans  and  amulets  engraved  with 
divine  names,  Koranic  verses,  and  fragments  of  the 
ritual  prayers  have  immeasurably  enriched  his  old 
pagan  inventory  of  magical  properties. 

The  promises  which  the  Moslem  teacher  makes  to 
the  pagan  before  his  conversion  are  too  high-flown 
not  to  produce  disappointment  in  the  mind  of  the 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon  93 

new  disciple  later  on,  but  when  the  convert  perceives 
that  his  new  religion  does  not  give  him  what  he 
expected  from  it  he  does  not  blame  his  religion,  but 
his  own  inadequate  religious  knowledge  and  his  sloth. 
If  only,  he  says  to  himself,  I  could  read  Arabic  like 
the  village  priest,  had  I  only  visited  Mecca,  had  I 
regularly  during  the  past  year  paid  all  my  dues  and 
always  said  the  daily  prayers,  had  I  been  able  to 
avoid  all  mistakes  in  my  ceremonial  purifications, 
how  different  things  would  be  with  my  religious  life. 
If,  notwithstanding  this  humility,  discontent 
makes  its  appearance  among  believers,  their  priest 
knows  how  to  make  adroit  use  of  such  feelings  in 
order  to  urge  his  congregation  to  greater  perform- 
ances. He  will  threaten  them  with  the  impending 
judgment  of  God,  which  will  chastise  them  for 
their  negligence  in  the  performance  of  their  Moslem 
duties.  He  announces  the  end  of  the  world;  only 
some  special  performance  can  avert  the  wrath  of 
God  which  the  saint  initiated  in  the  counsels  of  God 
distinctly  perceives  to  be  imminent.  Our  Bataks 
are  quick-witted  enough  to  feel  in  their  intercourse 
with  the  more  educated  Christians  their  ignorance 
in  matters  relating  to  their  own  religion,  but  they 
comfort  themselves  with  the  thought  that  after  all 
there  are  plenty  of  teachers  who  can  tell  them  about 
it.  If  they  only  had  the  same  hidden  knowledge 
they  too  would  be  able  to  reply  to  the  criticisms 
of  Christians. 

94       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

From  what  has  been  said  it  will  be  easily 
understood  that  the  Moslem  is  seldom  driven  to 
acceptance  of  the  Gospel  by  discontent  with  his 
present  religion.  Nevertheless,  continuous  contact 
of  Mohammedans  with  the  Gospel  does  awaken  in 
some  of  them  a  suspicion  that  it  offers  them 
something  which  Islam  does  not  possess.  What 
this  is  one  cannot  of  course  express  in  a  formula. 

I  have  often  noticed  that  Mohammedans  took 
delight  in  the  biblical  stories,  both  of  the  Old  and 
New  Testaments.  The  mere  fact  that  these  stories 
were  read  to  them  in  their  mother  tongue  appealed 
to  them.  It  was  different  from  anything  that  they 
had  known  before.  True,  fantastic  Moslem  stories 
are  told  amongst  the  people  now  and  again,  and 
they  like  to  listen  to  them,  but  they  treat  them  as 
belonging  to  the  same  class  as  the  heathen  fairy 
tales  and  fables  which  have  no  claim  to  truthfulness. 
The  Mohammedan  is  impressed  by  the  fact  that  God 
prepared  His  people  Israel  for  many  centuries  by 
prophets  who  foretold  the  mission  of  Jesus,  and  by 
His  genealogy  contained  in  Scripture.  The  notable 
Mohammedan  families  amongst  the  Bataks  plume 
themselves  not  a  little  upon  their  ancestry. 

The  Bataks  are  sympathetically  impressed  by 
the  miracles  of  our  Lord.  No  doubt  they  regard 
miracles  as  the  usual  sign  of  a  religious  leader, 
but  the  miraculous  works  of  Jesus  are  of  a  different 
type  from  the  wonders  and  magical  tricks  which  are 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon  95 

related  about  the  dead  or  living  saints  of  Islam. 
Jesus,  they  see,  did  miracles  only  when  He  was  able 
thereby  to  help  others.  When  did  He  ever,  as  do 
all  the  sorcerers  of  black  magic,  use  His  miraculous 
gifts  for  His  own  enrichment  ? 

The  manner  in  which  our  Lord  sets  forth  His 
teachings  in  epigrams  and  parables  is  pleasing  to 
the  Batak,  whose  popular  morality  is  fond  of  pro- 
verbs and  imagery.  Jesus  was  poor,  unlike  the 
magicians  who  without  exception  use  their  wonder- 
working powers  for  their  own  benefit,  while  He  went 
from  place  to  place  healing  and  helping  others. 
This  feature  in  our  Lord's  character  attracts  them, 
for  they  feel  their  own  extreme  poverty,  especially 
in  contrast  to  the  well-to-do  Europeans.  Their 
compassion  is  aroused  at  the  treatment  of  our 
Saviour  by  His  own  people.  Surely,  they  feel,  He 
did  not  deserve  this.  The  story  of  the  crucifixion 
touches  them.  They  well  understand,  from  the 
experiences  of  'heir  own  life,  how  the  covetous 
priests  by  their  I.  *rigues  brought  death  upon  Him, 
for  every  one  of  them  has  suffered,  in  the  case  of 
himself  or  others,  injustice  of  some  kind.  The 
Batak  takes  little  interest  at  first  in  the  vicarious 
and  redemptive  aspect  of  the  death  of  Christ,  but 
he  is  much  impressed  with  our  Lord's  power  over 
evil  spirits  and  over  death,  and  with  His  prophecy 
of  His  return  as  a  mighty  judge.  They  think  that 
such  a  leader  and  mediator  is  not  unacceptable,  but 

96      Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

that  Mohammedans  have  surely  a  much  better 
mediator  in  the  person  of  their  Prophet. 

The  Bataks  appreciate  the  loving  invitations  of 
Christ,  as  represented  in  the  parables  of  the  Good 
Shepherd  and  the  Prodigal  Son.  They  think  it 
decidedly  convenient  to  get  rid  of  sin  and  its  con- 
sequences so  easily.  They  may  shake  their  heads 
at  the  story  of  the  resurrection  as  being  improbable, 
but  it  seems  to  them  by  no  means  impossible.  As 
long  as  they  do  not  realize  that  a  belief  in  Jesus 
must  oust  faith  in  Mohammed  they  have  no  objec- 
tion to  allowing  that  Jesus  is  the  Son  of  God,  seeing 
that  all  men  are  children  of  God,  as  even  pagans 
know,  for  has  not  God  created  them  and  placed 
them  in  the  world  ?  They  are  ready  to  allow  that 
the  Jesus  of  the  Gospel  is  the  same  as  the  'Isa  of 
whom  the  Mohammedan  teachers  also  know  some- 
thing. We  shall  see  afterwards  at  what  point  their 
rejection  comes  in. 

Generally  speaking,  one  may  say  that  the  mission- 
ary's greatest  difficulty  is  to  get  the  ear  of  Moslems 
at  all  when  he  speaks  of  the  Gospel.  Only  those  are 
prepared  to  listen  on  whom  the  conduct  of  Christians 
has  already  made  an  impression.  They  know  that 
the  missionaries  are  always  anxious  to  promote  the 
bodily  welfare  of  all  men,  whether  Malays,  Chinese, 
or  Bataks.  This  is  sufficiently  proved  by  the  daily 
medical  ministrations  in  the  forty  main  stations  and 
440  out-stations,  and  by  the  orphanage  and  the 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon  97 

two  leper  asylums,  in  one  of  which  more  than  300 
lepers  are  cared  for.  The  Mohammedans  know 
perfectly  well  that  this  labour  of  love  on  the  part  of 
missionaries  and  doctors  as  also  of  native  helpers 
is  carried  on  entirely  without  self  interest,  even 
although  crafty  Mecca  pilgrims  would  persuade  the 
people  that  the  missionaries  will  demand  large  sums 
of  money  on  the  recovery  of  their  patients,  or  that 
they  receive  a  special  reward  in  coin  for  every 
patient.  Decades  of  long  sustained  labour  have 
convinced  the  people  of  the  untenability  of  such 
calumnies.  Some  priests  will  tell  the  people  that 
the  white  man  is  merely  a  slave  of  Allah  and  has 
been  commissioned  by  Him  to  deliver  Mohammedans 
from  sickness  and  suffering.  God,  in  fact,  has 
punished  the  white  men  by  putting  upon  them 
the  task  of  healing  the  sick,  whereas  the  Moslem 
priesthood  would  never  think  of  defiling  themselves 
by  such  servile  ministrations.  But  this  again  does 
not  readily  find  acceptance.  On  the  contrary  it  is 
a  common  thing  in  wide  circles  for  the  people  to 
reply  to  the  charges  of  the  priests  that  the  Chris- 
tians after  all  have  a  real  religion. 

The  life  and  character  of  many  Christians,  in- 
cluding some  of  our  native  helpers  and  leaders,  is 
not  all  that  it  might  be,  but  the  Mohammedan 
nevertheless  has  to  confess  that  their  behaviour  is 
a  marked  advance  upon  the  arrogant  and  overbearing 
conduct  of  the  Islamic  priesthood.  Mohammedans 

98       Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

recognize  that  the  serious  efforts  of  our  village 
elders  to  settle  quarrels,  especially  between  young 
married  people,  are  praiseworthy.  Polygamy  has 
never  become  an  institution  amongst  the  pagan 
Bataks ;  it  is  regarded  as  a  cause  of  strife  and  the 
privilege  of  the  rich.  The  monogamous  marriage 
of  Christians,  the  high  esteem  in  which  women  are 
held,  the  peacefulness  of  happy  marriages  which 
they  see  in  the  dwellings  of  the  missionaries  and 
their  helpers,  are  all  in  agreement  with  Batak 
ideas.  Divorce  is  rendered  difficult  by  their  tribal 
laws,  and  although  the  chiefs  are  ready  to  take 
advantage  of  it  the  popular  conscience  disapproves 
of  it  and  the  strict  rule  of  monogamous  marriage 
in  the  Christian  Church  is  not  a  little  impressive 
to  the  Moslem.  He  is  also  attracted  by  the 
Christian  marriage  rite,  clearly  setting  forth  as  it 
does  by  word  and  ceremony  the  indissolubility  of 
the  marriage  bond,  in  the  plighting  of  troth  between 
bride  and  bridegroom,  the  joining  of  their  hands, 
the  marriage  exhortation  and  the  divine  benediction. 
It  often  enough  happens  that  the  spectacle  of  a 
Christian  marriage  gives  the  first  impulse  to  the 
conversion  of  a  Moslem.  We  may  say  that  Christian 
worship  in  general,  with  hymn-singing  by  young 
people,  prayers  in  the  vernacular,  preaching  that 
can  be  understood  by  all,  the  fatherly  attitude  of 
the  clergy  in  their  exhortation  and  pastoral  minis- 
trations which  breathe  the  spirit  of  loving  service, 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon  99 

all  go  to  impress  Moslems  favourably.  When  one 
of  them  has  been  to  a  Christian  service,  if  only  a 
funeral,  he  will  not  easily  venture  to  say  that  the 
Christians  have  no  religion.  Many  among  our 
Christians,  though,  alas !  not  all,  preserve  their 
faith  through  sickness  and  in  the  face  of  death. 
They  have  renounced  all  magic  and  witchcraft  and 
committed  their  bodies  and  souls  with  quiet  trust 
into  the  hands  of  God.  Simply  and  without  false 
shame  they  confess  the  assurance  of  forgiveness  of 
their  sins  through  the  cross  of  Christ.  Thus  they 
bear  eloquent  witness  to  the  power  of  the  Saviour 
among  the  Mohammedan  relatives  whom  popular 
custom  brings  to  the  bed  of  sickness  and  death. 

Value  is  attached  to  the  educative  influence  of 
Christian  missions.  Obedience  to  parents  is  regarded 
even  amongst  pagans  as  a  virtue,  but  one  which 
they  fail  to  call  forth  in  their  children,  and  Islam 
has  done  nothing  to  amend  this.  Hence  the 
Christian  school  which  seriously  inculcates  the  fifth 
commandment  attracts  Mohammedans.  It  is  true 
that  the  percentage  of  children  attending  Christian 
schools  who  actually  go  over  to  Christianity  is 
very  small,  but  the  people,  hungry  as  they  are  for 
education,  regard  it  as  no  small  benefit  that  all 
children  without  any  religious  distinction  are  re- 
ceived as  pupils.  Finally,  Mohammedans  themselves, 
when  occasion  serves,  will  confess  that  the  Christian 
school  equips  the  child  better  for  life  and  has  a 

ioo    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

more  favourable  moral  influence  upon  him  than 
Moslem  instruction  in  the  Koran,  through  which 
the  children  learn  with  difficulty  a  few  fragments 
of  Arabic  and  possibly  the  Arabic  alphabet.  They 
allow  also  that  the  young  people  are  far  better 
cared  for  by  the  Christian  workers  than  by  Moslem 
teachers,  the  majority  of  whom  give  teaching  in 
magic  along  with  their  school  work.  Dabbling  in 
magic  leads  the  youths  to  immorality,  and  makes 
them  impudent  to  young  girls  and  discourteous  to 
elders ;  for  in  reliance  upon  the  magic  powers  which 
they  believe  themselves  to  have  attained  they  fear 
nothing — are  they  not  charmed  against  thrusts  and 
cuts,  and  even  against  the  bullets  of  European 
soldiers,  and  are  they  not,  by  reason  of  their  magic, 
superior  to  the  village  elders  in  wisdom  and  elo- 
quence? It  is  an  open  secret  that  it  is  precisely 
the  most  famous  of  the  Mohammedan  teachers  who 
exert  the  most  deleterious  influence  on  youth. 

The  Christian  Church  stands  for  unity  in  the 
Batak  country.  In  all  churches  of  the  mission 
the  same  Gospel  is  read;  there  are  no  differences 
in  doctrine.  The  Church  has  a  stable  organization. 
The  effective  organization  of  the  Christian  Church 
is  chiefly  manifested  in  its  discipline;  offences 
against  Christian  morality  are  followed  by  the 
same  penalties  whether  in  north  or  south.  It  is 
the  Church,  and  not  the  missionary,  which  pro- 
nounces judgment,  and  it  does  not  hesitate,  if 

*'•  •  •'•»•       *>  i*  '•!';•••'  :'•   :  A 
Third  Study— Gottfr  e'd' Simon'          IDi 

need  be,  to  excommunicate  members  of  high  social 
position.  Clear-sighted  and  resolute  action  of  this 
kind  makes  a  powerful  impression  on  a  people 
lacking  in  strength  of  will. 


It  may  seem  strange  that  the  same  points  in  the 
Christian  life  and  doctrine  which  attract  the 
Mohammedan  also  call  forth  his  opposition.  For 
instance  the  discipline  of  the  Christian  Church 
inspires  him  with  respect,  but  when  he  considers 
the  matter  quietly  the  fear  arises  that  this  same 
discipline  may  prove  unpleasant  to  him  and  limit 
his  personal  freedom.  To  be  bound  to  one  wife 
throughout  life  and  under  all  circumstances,  and 
to  have  no  possibility  of  taking  another  in  addition, 
is  to  many  a  disagreeable  limitation.  In  other  words, 
the  lofty  demands  of  Christian  morality  alarm 
Moslems.  They  are  ready  to  admire  them,  but 
only  so  long  as  admiration  has  not  to  be  exchanged 
for  allegiance.  The  silencing  power  of  the  Word  of 
God  gives  it  a  grip  upon  a  man's  conscience ;  that 
is  not  always  pleasant.  The  possibility  of  inward 
communion  with  God  which  is  afforded  by  Christian 
prayer  places  a  man  in  the  presence  of  God  and 
lays  upon  him  the  obligation  of  seeking  communion 
with  God,  and  this  is  a  hindrance  to  sinful  pleasure. 
The  ritual  prayers  of  Islam  are  indeed  difficult  to 
learn,  on  account  of  their  complicated  ceremonial, 

io?     Vital  Forcts  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

but  they  have  the  advantage  over  Christian  prayers 
in  not  disquieting  the  conscience. 

In  fine  the  chief  offence  arises  from  the  fact  that 
the  conscience  is  touched  by  Christian  teaching. 
This  is  true  also  of  the  doctrine  of  the  person 
of  Christ.  At  first  the  outsider  regards  the  doctrine 
of  the  Trinity  as  a  ridiculous  and  foolish  pro- 
position, and  the  Mohammedan  teachers  do  their 
best  to  represent  it  to  their  disciples  as  absolutely 
senseless.  But  this  is  not  where  the  real  difficulty 
lies.  The  Batak  is  extremely  fond  of  a  hair-splitting 
discussion  of  a  difficult  question.  He  would  simply 
delight  in  a  subtle  disputation  about  the  Trinity 
and  about  the  divine  Sonship  of  our  Lord,  and  such 
conversations  do  sometimes  have  an  enlightening 
effect.  Thoughtful  hearers  may  see  that  the 
doctrine  of  the  Trinity  is  by  no  means  the  un- 
thinkable proposition  that  they  imagine.  But  that 
does  not  mean  that  the  real  stumbling-block  has 
been  removed.  The  same  may  be  said  of  the 
divine  Sonship  of  our  Lord.  The  Mohammedan 
is  fond  of  attacking  it  with  cheap  ridicule.  How 
can  God  have  a  son?  Do  you  suppose  that  He 
has  a  wife  ?  But  the  mocker  is  often  disarmed  by 
a  simple  question.  Do  you  believe  that  God  can 
do  whatever  He  pleases?  Can  He  then  not  have 
a  son  without  taking  a  wife?  To  overcome  an 
objection  of  this  kind  is  not  difficult,  but  as  soon 
as  the  Mohammedan  realizes  that  this  Jesus  has 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon  103 

a  unique  relation  to  God,  that  He  can  share  His 
place  with  no  other,  whether  spirits,  whom  He 
has  the  power  to  drive  out,  or  prophets,  who  do 
not  know  God  as  He  does,  the  more  pronounced 
does  his  opposition  become.  He  recognizes  that 
the  worship  of  Christ  excludes  the  worship  of 
Mohammed.  Either  Mohammed  is  the  mediator, 
or  Christ:  he  cannot  hold  to  both.  But  who 
would  dare  to  give  up  Mohammed  ? 

The  acceptance  of  Christ  means  a  breach  with 
every  form  of  animism ;  the  wearing  of  amulets  is 
a  sin  for  him  who  believes  in  the  power  of  Jesus. 
All  the  secret  magical  implements  and  powers  of 
the  priests  are  forbidden  to  the  disciple  of  Christ. 
There  are  no  such  things  as  magical  methods  of 
becoming  rich.  Beautiful  as  the  story  of  the 
Prodigal  Son  may  be,  it  has  the  bitter  moral  that 
any  one  returning  to  the  Father's  house  must  con- 
form to  the  way  of  that  house. 

We  have  seen  that  the  cross  of  Jesus  calls  forth 
the  sympathy  of  hearers.  Occasionally  the  common 
Mohammedan  objection  is  made  to  it  that  cruci- 
fixion was  a  fate  unworthy  of  a  holy  prophet,  but 
generally  speaking  the  Cross  is  rejected  because  the 
Mohammedan  cannot  understand  that  anything  of 
the  kind  should  be  a  necessary  condition  of  the 
forgiveness  of  sins. 

The  preaching  of  the  missionary  ought  neither  to 
smooth  away  the  angles  and  the  edges  of  the  Gospel, 

IO4    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

nor  to  emphasize  unnecessarily  at  the  beginning  the 
elements  which  most  repel  the  hearer.  We  have  to 
ask,  then,  whether  there  are  points  of  Christian 
doctrine  which  may  be  kept  back  in  order  to  avoid 
unnecessary  offence.  In  answer  to  this  we  must 
remember  that  it  is  impossible  in  setting  forth 
Christianity  to  confine  ourselves  to  a  certain  limited 
area  of  its  doctrine.  We  might  perhaps  do  so  in 
public  teaching,  in  which  the  preacher  can  choose 
his  own  ground,  but  as  soon  as  we  come  to  anything 
like  a  discussion,  the  opponent  simply  forces  us  to 
deal  with  doctrines  the  exposition  of  which  we 
would  prefer  to  postpone.  In  the  Moslem  we  have 
an  opponent  who  possesses  a  knowledge,  however 
incorrect,  of  Christianity.  Our  task  therefore  is 
not  to  carry  to  the  Moslem  as  we  would  to  the 
heathen  an  entirely  unknown  doctrine  as  something 
completely  new,  but  rather  to  remove  mountains 
of  prejudice  and  to  correct  a  multitude  of  miscon- 
ceptions as  to  our  Christian  doctrine.  The  Moham- 
medan priests  in  the  Dutch  East  Indies  who  have 
been  trained  in  Mecca  have  been  regularly  taught  to 
dispute  with  Christians,  and  even  the  least  educated 
village  priest  has  some  idea  of  how  to  do  this.  The 
more  thoroughly,  however,  we  answer  our  opponent, 
the  less  shall  we  be  able  to  avoid  those  doctrines 
which  cause  special  offence,  for  every  part  of  the 
Christian  teaching,  if  thoroughly  explained,  stands 
in  definite  contrast  to  that  of  Islam,  and  our  inter- 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon          105 

locators  will  soon  compel  us  to  make  the  antithesis 
quite  clear.  For  instance,  we  are  asked  on  what  we 
base  our  certainty  of  entering  into  paradise,  or  of 
the  forgiveness  of  sins.  In  answer  we  point  to 
Jesus  and  His  cross,  and  say  that  we  believe  in 
redemption  through  His  blood,  and  justification 
through  His  grace.  We  thereby  exclude  all  merit 
on  the  part  of  man,  and  the  Moslem  forthwith 
realizes  that  we  thus  stigmatize  all  his  works  of 
merit,  his  religious  observances,  his  fasting,  his 
pilgrimage,  and  so  forth,  as  entirely  without  value 
as  the  basis  of  salvation.  But  the  man  who  has 
all  his  life  set  his  hope  upon  such  meritorious 
works  of  course  feels  himself  injured  when  he  sees 
how  lightly  we  esteem  what  appears  to  him  most 
precious.  Again,  we  are  often  driven  to  explain 
the  depth  of  the  biblical  idea  of  sin,  and  to  show 
that  even  the  secret  desire  of  the  heart  to  take  the 
property  or  the  wife  of  one's  neighbour,  or  even  a 
lack  of  love  to  one's  neighbour,  is  sinful.  In  contrast 
with  this  the  Moslem  naturally  feels  how  superficial  is 
his  conception  of  sin.  To  him  sin  is  the  neglect  of 
a  clause  in  the  Islamic  civil  law  of  marriage,  or  the 
defective  performance  of  some  small  ritual  action. 
Again,  we  are  asked  about  the  teaching  of  the  Bible, 
and,  first  and  foremost,  the  inquirer  wants  to  know 
what  it  says  about  Mohammed  and  the  Koran.  He 
very  soon  has  to  be  told  that  the  Bible  contains  the 
final  and  binding  revelation  of  God  to  mankind, 

io6    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

and  accordingly  he  realizes  that  to  the  Christian 
Mohammed's  claim  is  void  and  his  book  a  mere 
human  production.  I  need  hardly  say  that  it  is 
unnecessary  to  expose  in  a  controversial  way  the 
moral  weaknesses  of  Mohammed's  life,  or  the  con- 
tradictions of  the  Koran,  but  if  I  endeavour,  with- 
out making  comparisons,  to  set  forth  in  itself  the 
glory  of  Christ  and  the  fulness  of  biblical  teaching, 
the  sensitive  Moslem  soon  finds  out  that  his  Prophet 
and  his  holy  book  will  not  endure  comparison  with 
this  Prophet  and  this  Book  of  books,  and  this  too 
will  cause  offence.  It  is  not  necessary  that  I  should 
explicitly  condemn  the  sensual  descriptions  of  the 
joys  of  paradise.  I  have  only  to  explain  the 
spiritual  nature  of  the  Christian  hope  after  death, 
and  the  fulness  of  joy  in  perfect  communion  with 
Christ  and  the  vision  of  God,  to  make  the  Moslem 
feel  that  for  me  at  least  the  joys  of  his  paradise 
are  worthless,  and  it  irritates  him  that  his  glowing 
expectations  have  no  attraction  for  me. 


We  have  seen  that  it  is  difficult  to  present 
Christian  teaching  to  the  Mohammedan  without 
offending  him,  but  by  that  I  do  not  mean  to  say 
that  there  are  no  points  of  contact  in  Islam  itself 
for  the  proclamation  of  the  Gospel.  For  instance, 
if  we  take  the  omnipotence  of  God  we  shall  find 
that  every  ascription  of  praise  to  the  divine  good- 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon          107 

ness  which  sustains  us  and  the  entire  creation  meets 
with  lively  agreement  on  the  part  of  the  Moslem, 
and  in  speaking  of  it  we  may  even  adopt  his 
phraseology  to  a  certain  extent.  Indeed  this  fact 
is  of  the  greatest  importance  for  the  evangelizing 
of  Moslems,  for  it  is  on  this  common  ground  that 
the  missionary  finds  it  possible  to  get  a  hearing  at 
all,  since,  generally  speaking,  the  Moslem  regards 
the  Christian  as  a  man  without  religion.  The 
attitude  of  the  many  unbelieving  Europeans  among 
the  colonists,  who  are  absorbed  in  their  work,  often 
with  the  desire  to  make  their  fortune  quickly, 
has  hitherto  strengthened  the  notion  in  his  mind 
that  the  white  man  has  no  appreciation  of  things 
religious.  But  when  I  am  able  to  speak  of  God 
in  the  phraseology  of  the  Moslem  he  perceives 
that  I  at  any  rate  have  a  desire  for  the  honour 
of  God,  a  hope  of  paradise,  a  faith  in  prophets 
and  in  sacred  scriptures,  and  an  acceptance  of  the 
duty  of  submission  to  God,  that  I  honour  Him 
with  worship,  and  repudiate  such  sins  as  theft, 
falsehood,  murder,  and  adultery  no  less  decidedly 
than  the  Moslem  does.  We  can  also  go  a  step 
further  than  this,  by  pointing  out  that  the  Koran 
and  the  Bible  agree  in  certain  doctrines.  When 
a  mocking  opponent  utters  obscene  blasphemies 
against  the  virgin  birth  of  Christ  one  can  point  out 
to  him  that  the  Koran  also  teaches  the  birth  of  Jesus 
Christ  without  a  father,  and  he  has  to  confess  with 

1 08    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

confusion  that  his  religion  forbids  him  to  speak 
offensively  about  the  history  of  the  birth  of  Christ. 
We  may  often  connect  what  we  have  to  say  with 
the  mention  common  to  both  books  of  Adam  as 
the  first  of  the  human  race,  of  Abraham,  Joseph, 
Solomon  and  other  Old  Testament  characters.  The 
knowledge  of  the  Koran,  however,  amongst  the 
Mohammedan  priests  who  are  generally  ignorant  of 
Arabic  is  too  imperfect  for  us  to  effect  much  with 
arguments  taken  from  that  book.  It  is  important 
to  make  diligent  use  of  such  points  of  contact 
because  by  that  means  alone  can  we  gain  the 
Moslem's  confidence.  It  is,  however,  quite  another 
question  whether  we  are  justified  in  employing  a 
doctrine  contained  in  the  Koran  as  the  basis  for 
an  extended  discussion.  Passages  about  Satan  and 
the  angels  are  the  simplest  to  handle.  They  are 
prominent  neither  among  the  Moslems  of  Sumatra 
nor  in  Christianity.  But  even  on  these  minor 
points  the  difference  between  us  is  patent,  for  when- 
ever we  seek  to  build  upon  our  common  foundation 
we  must  first  destroy  a  great  part  of  it.  We 
must  protest  against  the  worship  of  angels  which  is 
especially  carried  on  by  Moslem  sorcerers,  whereas 
this  is  the  very  thing  which  is  important  for  the 
Moslem.  We  cannot  assign  the  role  to  the  angel 
Gabriel  assigned  to  him  by  Moslem  theology 
at  the  end  of  the  world,  which  is,  to  hold  the 
scales:  he  decides  whether  the  weight  of  good 

Third  Study— Gottfried  Simon          1 09 

works    is    adequate,   he    is    actually    lord    at    the 

If  we  begin  to  develop  the  teaching  to  be  drawn 
from  mercy  as  a  divine  attribute  we  are  at  once 
met  with  a  difficulty.  We  have  to  protest  against 
the  idea  that  God's  goodness  is  a  matter  of  mood, 
and  that  it  is  a  matter  of  complete  indifference  to 
Him  whether  He  sends  a  man  to  heaven  or  hell. 
We  must  teach  that  we  are  not  slaves  of  God, 
with  no  power  of  self-determination,  but  rather 
His  beloved  children.  However  useful,  therefore, 
we  find  the  acknowledgment  and  praise  of  God's 
mercy  as  a  means  of  gaining  a  hearing,  it  fails 
us  as  a  common  ground  when  we  begin  to  employ 
it  as  a  starting-point  for  the  doctrines  of  God's 
attributes  in  detail.  In  order  to  guard  against 
gross  misunderstanding  we  are  compelled  to  attack 
the  Moslem  conception  of  the  divine  mercy. 
Further,  the  fact  that  we  reverence  the  'Isa  of 
Islam  whom  we  call  Jesus,  is,  to  begin  with,  a 
useful  point  of  contact,  but  when  we  come  to 
teach  about  His  life  and  work  we  can  only  do 
so  in  the  light  of  the  Cross.  The  apocryphal 
legend  about  the  Jew  on  whom  'Isa  is  said  to 
have  conferred  His  own  image  so  that  he  might 
be  crucified  in  His  stead,  to  say  nothing  of  other 
mythical  stories,  is  such  a  total  misapprehension 
of  the  picture  of  Jesus  that  we  really  have  first 
to  obliterate  the  features  of  'Isa  from  the  heart 

1 1  o     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

of  the  Moslem  before  we  can  print  upon  it  the 
true  lineaments  of  our  Jesus.  The  hope  of  the 
Mahdl,  or  as  they  say  in  the  Dutch  East  Indies, 
the  expectation  that  '  the  righteous  and  white 
prince '  will  appear  before  the  end  of  all  things,  can 
scarcely  serve  to  awaken  an  understanding  of  the 
second  advent  of  Jesus.  For  at  His  return  'Isa  is 
to  surrender  His  kingdom  in  a  final  conflict  to 
Mohammed  and  then  Himself  turn  Mohammedan. 
The  Moslem's  mystical  exercises  certainly  testify  to 
his  search  after  communion  with  God.  They  do 
not,  however,  serve  to  awaken  his  understanding  for 
the  Christ  within  us.  For  such  mystical  exercises  con- 
jure God  into  man,  to  absorb  man  in  the  deity.  The 
more  passive  a  man  is  in  the  mystical  art  the  better. 
Whereas  the  Christ  within  us  awakens  for  the  first 
time  in  men  the  living  power  to  work  in  His  name. 

The  difficulty  is  perhaps  greatest  in  the  matter 
of  eschatology.  In  dealing  with  this  doctrine  we 
obviously  have  to  depopulate  the  sensually  furnished 
paradise  of  the  Moslem  in  order  to  make  room 
for  the  Christian  hope  of  eternal  life  in  its  spiritual 
outlines.  We  must  be  ready  to  take  away  from 
the  Moslem  his  houris,  the  dishes  wide  as  the 
circle  of  the  earth  and  full  of  fragrant  viands, 
the  perfumes  and  luxurious  couches,  the  sparkling 
brooks,  and  trees  whose  fruits  fall  into  his  mouth : 
in  fact  little  is  left  to  represent  the  common  belief 
but  the  name  '  paradise ' :  the  contents  are  totally 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon          1 1 1 

different.  We  behold  the  Lamb  slain,  the  tree  of 
life,  the  redeemed  in  white  robes,  and  look  forward 
to  the  marriage  supper  to  which  we  shall  sit  down 
with  the  Lord.  But  these  are  of  course  sensible 
figures  for  supersensible  experience.  What  is  essen- 
tial in  such  imagery  is  not  the  sensible  figure  but 
the  supersensible  Christ  and  our  supersensible  com- 
munion with  Him.  An  ideal  hitherto  sensible  is 
therefore  not  merged  in  some  new  sensible  goal, 
but  rather  the  Christian  representation  foregoes  any 
attempt  to  depict  the  details  of  the  Last  Day.  It 
definitely  refuses  to  allow  eschatological  experience 
to  be  sensibly  apprehended  and  thereby  to  become 
alluring ;  rather  the  earthly  expression  is  made  the 
vehicle  of  the  expectation  of  intangible,  supramun- 
dane  reality.  The  fact  that  Christian  eschatology 
lays  no  weight  on  complete  representation  of  the 
life  to  come  saves  it  from  the  temptation  to  indulge 
in  grotesque  and  fantastic  descriptions,  and  shows 
that  the  earthly  imagery  is  but  a  picture  of  the 
supernatural  reality.  It  has  no  intention  of  satis- 
fying impertinent  curiosity  or  of  alluring  by 
means  of  sensual  desire.  The  allurement  is  only 
for  the  spiritual  side  of  man  and  the  satisfaction 
is  for  the  Christian's  home-sickness.  We  can  see 
what  a  wide  difference  there  is  between  the 
eschatological  tendency  of  the  two  religions,  and 
the  further  we  enter  into  the  essential  meaning 
of  either  the  more  does  this  divergence  increase. 

H2     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

The  same  thing  might  be  proved  with  regard 
to  other  religious  conceptions  such  as  sin,  judgment, 
hell,  and  so  forth.  We  should  everywhere  encounter 
the  same  difficulties.  The  Moslem  associates  with 
the  words  in  question  entirely  different  ideas  from 
those  of  the  Christian.  It  is  therefore  impossible 
simply  to  employ  the  religious  vocabulary  of  Islam 
as  the  foundation  of  our  missionary  presentation 
of  the  Gospel.  In  the  case  of  these  conceptions 
also,  what  on  first  comparison  seems  to  be  a  common 
foundation  disappears  when  we  scrutinize  it  more 
closely.  If,  therefore,  we  do  not  wish  that  the 
old  errors  in  the  mind  of  the  Moslem  should  be 
merely  adorned  with  Christian  names  and  so  give 
rise  to  an  entirely  unbiblical  syncretism,  we  must 
not  hesitate  to  overthrow  without  remorse  these 
supposed  common  foundations,  and  to  cast  aside 
their  fragments.  Only  then  can  a  new  building 
be  erected  on  the  new  foundation.  We  may,  in 
fact,  accept  it  as  a  general  law  that  congruity 
between  Christianity  and  Islam  is  apparent  only 
at  ^first  sight.  The  further  investigation  proceeds, 
the  deeper  does  the  gulf  between  the  two  become. 
No  doubt  those  who  have  confined  themselves  in 
their  discussions  with  Mohammedans  to  mere 
skirmishing  will  have  much  to  say  of  the  breadth 
of  the  common  foundation.  Those  who  have  led 
up  the  main  army  of  the  vital  forces  of  the  Gospel 
against  the  Islamic  enemy  become  painfully  con- 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon          113 

scious  how  the  supposed  common  ground  gives 
way  under  their  feet.  It  is  as  true  of  converts  from 
Islam  in  this  connexion  as  it  was  of  the  Pharisees : 
they  must  die  with  Christ ;  and  because  it  is  always 
a  bitter  thing  to  die,  conversions  from  Islam  are 
both  difficult  and  rare. 


The  present  controversy  of  Christianity  with  the 
Moslem  faith  undoubtedly  translates  many  things 
in  the  New  Testament  from  the  dim  light  of  the 
past  into  the  bright  noonday  of  the  present.  Many 
points  of  contact  exist  between  the  Phariseeism  of 
the  Palestinian  Jew  at  the  time  of  Christ  and  Islam 
of  the  present  age.  In  both  cases  we  see  the  same 
anxious  observance  of  the  ceremonial  laws  of  food ; 
Mohammedan  teachers  in  Sumatra  publish  popular 
tracts  on  the  question  as  to  which  tropical  animals 
are  clean  and  which  are  unclean.  In  both  cases  we 
observe  the  opinion  that  that  which  enters  into  the 
mouth  defiles  the  man,  while  evil  thoughts,  especially 
hatred  towards  a  non-Moslem,  the  sin  of  witchcraft 
and  hypocritical  flattery  of  powerful  unbelievers 
are  allowed  to  have  free  course.  In  both  cases 
we  notice  the  ostentatious  praying  at  the  corners 
of  the  street  so  as  to  be  seen  of  men,  in  both 
contempt  towards  those  who  are  without,  because 
they  do  not  belong  to  the  elect  people  of  God,  in 
both  the  sensuous  expectations  as  to  resurrection, 

1 14    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

which  last,  as  we  know,  differentiated  the  Palestinian 
Pharisee  from  the  Hellenistic  Jew.  A  man  on 
undertaking  a  pilgrimage  to  Mecca  often  leaves 
his  nearest  relatives  to  suffer  for  lack  of  his  help 
in  order  that  he  may  become  a  pilgrim,  just  as 
did  the  Jew  who,  according  to  our  Lord's  saying, 
let  his  parents  suffer  for  the  sake  of  Corban.  The 
Moslem  trader  imagines  himself  to  be  religious 
when,  like  the  Jew  of  the  time  of  our  Lord,  he 
swears  by  all  kinds  of  objects.  As  the  Jew  de- 
manded signs  and  wonders  from  our  Lord  as  a 
proof  of  His  mission  so  precisely  does  the  Moslem 
of  the  present  day  reproach  the  missionary  because 
he,  unlike  the  Moslem  teacher,  evinces  no  command 
of  divine  powers  of  magic.  The  struggle  of  the 
apostle  Paul  to  maintain  the  free  grace  of  God 
and  his  energetic  repudiation  of  all  justification 
by  works  again  become  intelligible  to  us  in  the 
conflict  with  Islam.  The  reproach  of  the  Cross, 
too,  is  keenly  felt  by  the  Moslem,  to  whom  it  is 
inconceivable  that  the  chosen  Prophet  should  have 
suffered  a  shameful  execution.  The  evangelical 
freedom  of  St.  Paul  has  by  some  been  misconstrued 
as  a  lack  of  piety;  the  Moslem  levels  the  same 
reproach  at  us,  and  when  he  sees  that  the  Christian 
convert  no  longer  observes  the  ritual  prayers  and 
purifications  he  regards  him  as  an  unbeliever. 

Some   theologians    of    our   time   have   expressed 
surprise   at    the    record    of    the    apostolic    decree 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon          1 1 5 

given  in  Acts  xv,  because  it  seems  to  have  been 
so  soon  superseded,  but  our  experience  in  missions 
to  Moslems  renders  this  quite  intelligible.  One  of 
our  most  difficult  problems  is  the  linking  together 
of  converts  from  Islam  and  paganism  into  one 
inwardly  and  outwardly  united  communion,  and 
in  order  to  compass  this  we  have  to  use  provisional 
compromises  regarding  Christian  customs  as  to  food 
and  the  like  which  afterwards  may  be  superseded. 
If  the  two  parties  are  to  live  together  in  the  unity 
of  the  Church,  each  must  be  prepared  to  sacrifice 
something  of  its  legitimate  freedom.  Moreover, 
such  provisional  ordinances  require  a  special  degree 
of  wisdom  which  is  given  to  us  only  by  the  Holy 
Spirit,  and  we  cannot  be  surprised  that  the  members 
of  the  apostolic  council  in  a  similar  situation  should 
appeal  in  their  circular  very  specially  to  His  guidance. 
Such  characters  as  Simon  the  magician,  who 
claim  to  be  possessed  of  a  special  divine  power 
and  for  this  reason  are  idolized  by  the  people, 
appear  constantly  amongst  Indonesian  Moslems 
of  to-day.  The  idea  of  Simon  and  the  other 
magicians  that  the  Holy  Spirit  could  be  bought 
for  money  corresponds  entirely  with  the  practice 
of  Moslem  magicians,  who  believe  themselves  to 
be  furnished  with  mystical  power.  We  have  here 
mysticism  degenerating  into  magic.  In  strong 
contrast  with  such,  the  Christian  mysticism  of 
St.  Paul  shines  out  brightly.  Such  mysticism 

1 1 6    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

speaks  indeed  of  the  Christ  within  us.  Its  exponent 
says  in  so  many  words,  'I  live,  yet  not  I.'  But 
this  mysticism  knows  no  mechanical  exercises,  no 
passive  contemplation  which  can  produce  spiritual 
exaltation  to  order.  The  boundary  between  the 
person  of  Christ  and  the  human  personality 
indwelt  by  Him  is  in  no  way  obliterated,  but  the 
mystical  communion  between  them  remains  a  true 
communion,  that  is  it  consists  of  a  vital  connexion 
between  two  personalities  each  of  which  maintains 
its  separate  existence  and  activity.  Both  God  and 
man  remain  each  what  they  are :  there  can  be  no 
such  thing  as  the  absorption  of  the  human  into 
the  divine. 

The  teaching  of  Scripture  regarding  miracles 
is  also  illuminated  by  comparison  with  Islam. 
Miracles  are  among  the  proofs  of  a  divine  mission 
and  the  disciples  of  the  Moslem  magicians  lay 
claim  to  miraculous  gifts  as  did  the  sons  of 
the  Pharisees.  When  therefore  St.  Paul  regards 
conviction  of  the  conscience  by  the  Gospel  as  the 
essential  proof  of  the  truth  of  Christianity  this 
view  stands  in  sharp  contrast  with  the  notion 
of  the  Moslem  world.  Mohammedanism  still 
regards  the  miracle  as  primarily  a  proof  of  divine 
favour,  and  by  its  doctrine  of  magical  wonders 
actually  degrades  the  conception  of  divine  freedom. 
The  Deity  becomes  subservient  to  a  human  being 
who  is  thoroughly  practised  in  magic,  however  he 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon          1 1 7 

may  follow  his  own  selfish  ends,  whereas  our 
Saviour  by  His  miracles  relieves  the  needs  of  men. 
By  them  He  does  not  coerce  God,  but,  on  the 
contrary,  the  miracles  are  counted  as  answers  to 
His  prayers.  Moreover,  in  Islam  the  miraculous 
effect  is  bound  up  with  the  power  of  the  magic 
formula.  The  really  effective  element  is  the  magic 
word  and  the  magic  ceremony,  whereas  in  the 
New  Testament  the  miracle  ever  stands  as  a  free 
activity  of  the  living  God.  To  the  disciple  of 
Jesus,  no  less  than  to  Himself,  does  the  principle 
apply  that  the  proof  of  true  discipleship  is  not 
the  miracle  but  the  doing  of  the  Father's  will. 
He  is  not  to  rejoice  in  the  possession  of  miraculous 
gifts  but  in  the  certainty  that  his  name  is  written 
in  heaven. 

The  convert  from  Islam  who  has  escaped  from 
religious  servitude  gives  us  an  insight  into  the 
true  nature  of  Christian  freedom.  He  greets  with 
joy  evangelical  freedom  from  the  law.  No  longer 
is  he  cramped  and  intimidated  by  a  casuistic  law- 
book  with  an  endless  series  of  individual  commands. 
The  broad  principles  of  his  free  Christian  life 
are  now  based  on  the  love  of  Christ,  responsibility 
to  the  supreme  Judge,  fear  of  the  living  God,  and 
the  guidance  of  His  Spirit.  The  disciple  of  Christ 
who  is  led  by  the  Spirit  has  been  released  from 
the  guidance  of  Islamic  divines;  he  is  himself 
taught  of  God. 

1 1 8     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

The  contrast  between  the  Christian  and  the 
Moslem  hope  of  a  life  to  come  casts  light,  as  we 
saw  above,  upon  New  Testament  eschatology. 
The  Christian  message  of  a  future  life  may  appear 
simple  and  even  bald  to  the  Moslem  whose  soul 
has  been  filled  with  the  fantastic  and  sensuous 
notions  of  paradise  presented  by  his  faith.  In  the 
same  way  the  Jew,  whose  mind  was  filled  with 
eschatological  hopes  such  as  those  depicted  in 
the  Jewish  apocalypses  of  the  time  of  Jesus,  must 
have  felt  the  apparent  poverty  and  reserve  of  the 
teaching  which  Jesus  and  His  apostles  gave  of 
the  life  to  come.  There  are  few  indications  in 
the  New  Testament  regarding  the  intermediate 
condition  of  the  soul  of  which  Moslem  divines 
have  so  much  to  tell.  But  it  is  this  same  modest 
reserve  which  forms  the  best  attestation  of  the 
truth  of  the  New  Testament  teachings.  When 
we  read  that  St.  Paul  seriously  warned  the  new 
converts  of  Thessalonica  by  no  means  to  forget 
their  common  daily  work  by  reason  of  the  bright 
hope  of  the  advent,  we  are  reminded  that  to  this 
day  similar  undesirable  results  follow  amongst 
Mohammedans  from  fantastic  expectations  of  a 
coming  redemption.  If  a  priest  of  some  reputa- 
tion announces  that  on  such  and  such  a  day  the 
final  judgment  may  be  expected  to  take  place, 
people  will  seriously  set  to  work  to  sell  their 
property  and  will  give  up  cultivating  their  fields 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon          1 1 9 

because  the  end  is  at  hand.  Many  a  sluggard 
will  lie  in  his  hut  and  look  on  passively  while 
the  rice  birds  consume  his  harvest.  He  knows 
that  bitter  starvation  may  enter  his  house,  but 
he  takes  comfort  from  the  prospect  of  another 
world,  where  he  will  have  food  and  drink  in  rich 

The  vital  forces  of  the  Gospel  become  manifest 
precisely  at  those  points  at  which  the  Moslem 
doctrines  seem  to  be  most  living  and  effective. 
Belief  in  the  one  God  to  whom  all  things  are 
subject  has  overcome  the  uncertainty  which  was 
felt  by  worshippers  of  spirits  with  regard  to  their 
thickly  populated  spiritual  world.  But  we  have 
seen  also  that  Islam  is  unable  to  establish  the 
true  unity  and  holiness,  the  omnipotence  and  the 
mercy  of  this  one  God.  Evangelical  history 
proclaims  One  who  is  the  reflection  of  His 
Father's  glory,  who  is  sinless,  who  has  power  over 
spirits,  and  who  seals  His  faithful  love  by  death. 
He,  being  the  perfect  image  of  the  Father,  the 
brightness  of  His  glory,  manifests  in  His  character 
the  qualities  of  the  holy  God.  In  other  words, 
the  revelation  of  Christ  who  is  one  in  essence 
with  the  Father  preserves  the  monotheistic  con- 
ception of  God  from  distortion. 

From  this  it  follows  that  the  negation  of 
animism,  which  is  a  fundamental  characteristic  of 
the  Old  and  New  Testaments,  guards  Christian 

1 20    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

doctrine  against  the  syncretism  which  characterizes 
Islam  in  every  country,  for  Islam  asserts  monothe- 
ism without  renouncing  animism.  The  victory 
of  biblical  teaching  over  the  animistic  tendency 
in  man  is  not  gained  by  a  detailed  prohibition  of 
all  possible  animistic  observances,  though  such 
are  not  wanting  in  Scripture.  The  fundamental 
principle  of  biblical  religion  is  the  restoration  of 
true  communion  between  the  individual  and  God, 
realized  in  a  life  of  prayer  which  by  its  very 
nature  destroys  the  inclination  to  intercourse  with 
spirits.  Moreover,  nature  is  placed  entirely  under 
the  control  of  God  and  thereby  the  possibility 
of  compelling  nature  by  means  of  magic  is  removed. 
The  monotheistic  conception  of  God  in  Islam 
which  negates  the  Incarnation  tends  towards  two 
extremes.  On  the  one  hand,  it  removes  God  as 
separate  from  the  world  to  an  infinite  distance 
in  order  to  preserve  His  distinctness  as  against 
creation ;  but  as  a  result  of  this  the  practical 
reality  of  God  is  turned  into  an  empty  abstraction. 
This  is  at  bottom  an  atheistic  tendency.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  Moslem  believer  engages  in  mystical 
exercises  with  the  object  of  magically  drawing  God 
into  his  soul.  He  is  moved  to  do  this  by  a  desire 
after  the  one  God,  but  in  doing  it  he  confuses  man 
and  God.  In  both  cases  the  personality  of  God  is 
assailed.  The  Christian  message  avoids  this  restless 
oscillation  between  extreme  views  simply  by  setting 

Third  Study — Gottfried  Simon          121 

forth  the  history  of  God's  work  in  the  world.  This 
as  given  in  the  Bible  shows  both  how  far  and  how 
near  God  is,  how  He  works  upon  man  and  man 
upon  Him,  and  viewed  in  this  aspect  the  biblical 
history  acquires  an  additional  spiritual  value. 

The  hints  which  I  have  given  may  suffice,  though 
others  are  near  at  hand.  In  place  of  the  many 
human  and  heavenly  mediators  we  have  the  one 
divine  and  human  Mediator ;  in  place  of  a  mass  of 
regulations  sanctioned  by  God,  we  have  the  one 
inexhaustible  ideal  of  life  presented  to  us  in  the  life 
of  Christ ;  instead  of  all  sorts  of  means  and  devices 
to  attain  the  life  desired  by  God,  we  have  the  one 
personal  Spirit  of  God  who  is  the  renewer  of  our 
life.  The  living  power  bestowed  by  the  Triune 
God  upon  the  believer  serves  in  fact  as  the  helm  of 
Christianity  as  it  makes  its  way  over  the  world,  a 
helm  which  Islam  lacks. 

The  question  may  be  asked  whether,  in  view  of 
the  considerations  which  I  have  brought  forward, 
our  conception  of  what  is  essentially  and  vitally 
effective  in  Christianity  has  been  shifted.  In  any 
case  it  has  been  deepened.  Certain  aspects  of 
Christian  doctrine  which  seemed  to  me  not  funda- 
mental for  my  own  religious  life  have  been  shown 
by  comparison  with  Islam  to  be  indispensable  and 
constructive  elements ;  while  conversely,  doctrines 
which  I  once  regarded  as  necessary  for  the  growth 
of  faith  I  have  been  now  able  to  put  aside  for  the 

122     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

present,  without  doubting,  however,  that  though 
they  proved  non-essential  in  the  beginnings  of  the 
religious  life  of  the  converted  Moslem,  they  will  find 
their  place  in  a  later  development. 

We  see  then  that  Christianity  has  no  reason  to 
view  the  display  of  the  powers  of  Islam  with  dis- 
couragement. The  river  of  God  has  water  in 
abundance  for  even  the  thirsty  Moslem  world. 
For  the  water  which  Islam  offers  the  soul  athirst 
for  God,  sweet  and  alluring  as  men  may  think  it, 
cannot  possibly  satisfy  the  innermost  needs  of  the 
soul.  The  vital  power  of  the  Gospel  alone  can  do 
that,  and  this  is  the  precious  experience  which  we 
have  every  one  of  us  made  to  whom  it  has  been 
granted  to  offer  the  bread  of  life  to  the  Moslem 


By  Professor  STEWART  CRAWFORD,  Syrian  Pro- 
testant College,  Beirut. 



By  Professor  STEWART  CRAWFORD,  Syrian  Protestant 
College,  Beirut 

THIS  article  is  written  from  the  point  of  view  of  one 
who  has  been  in  contact  with  Mohammedanism  in 
Syria.  Born  on  the  mission  field,  the  author  has 
from  boyhood  been  familiar  with  the  language  and 
the  life  of  the  common  people.  Fifteen  years  of 
his  active  service  as  a  missionary  were  occupied  with 
itinerant  work  in  the  field  of  the  Irish  Presbyterian 
Church  in  Damascus  and  the  Anti-Lebanon.  He 
was  later  transferred  to  the  Syrian  Protestant 
College  in  Beirut  where  he  is  entering  on  his  tenth 
year  as  teacher  of  the  Bible  and  ethics. 

In  Syria,  Islam  is  to  be  seen  under  comparatively 
favourable  conditions.  The  people  are  intellectually 
active  and  imitative.  Commerce,  the  spread  of 
intelligence  by  means  of  schools  and  the  native 
newspapers,  the  influence  of  missions,  have  all 
introduced  western  forces  into  the  native  environ- 
ment. Socially,  it  would  be  difficult  to  find  a  race 

more  genial    and    kindly,    or    more    approachable 


126    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

wherever  a  sympathetic  relationship  is  established. 
Innumerable  social  opportunities,  under  all  the 
varied  conditions  of  city  and  village  life  and  of 
wayside  travel,  have  made  it  possible  to  see  into 
the  mind  of  the  Moslem  as  well  as  of  the  oriental 
Christian.  In  the  college,  under  more  unique 
conditions,  it  has  been  the  writer's  privilege  to  deal 
each  year  with  scores  of  Moslem  youths,  many  of 
them  coming  from  far  distant  regions  of  Islam,  and 
to  help  their  minds  to  unfold  in  the  presence  of 
Christian  teaching  and  companionship.  The  process 
is  one  of  thrilling  interest  to  every  lover  of  his 
fellowmen,  and  reproduces  on  a  small  scale  the 
successes,  the  failures,  and  the  unlooked-for  develop- 
ments of  the  larger  field  of  contact,  on  the  world 
stage,  of  intelligent  Mohammedanism  with  intelli- 
gent Christianity.  This  intermingling  of  earnest 
and  intelligent  forces,  from  the  two  bodies,  has 
only  just  begun ;  but  in  it  lies  the  chief  hope  of  a 
native  spiritual  uplift,  and  moral  leadership  which 
will  bring  the  world  of  Islam  to  a  consciousness  of 
the  gospel  ideal  of  6  self-surrender '  to  God. 


Islam  remains  vital  because  it  is  a  religion. 
Before  all  else  that  it  may  be  socially  and  politically, 
Islam  is  a  system  that  in  its  own  way  serves  to 
maintain  the  religious  life  of  its  followers.  Were 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford       127 

it  not  able  to  meet  certain  needs  of  the  human 
spirit  with  influences  that  nourish  a  life  of  faith 
within  men,  it  could  not  have  become  the  force 
that  it  is  to-day  in  the  personality  of  so  many 
millions  of  our  fellow -beings.  This  elementary 
proposition  is  sometimes  called  in  question.  To 
all  who  do  so  we  can  only  say  that  they  have 
remained  strangers  to  the  inward  and  invisible 
forces  of  Mohammedanism. 

Islam  must  also  be  credited  with  having  called 
into  activity  many  of  the  noblest  forces  in  the 
nature  of  man.  From  the  beginning  of  its  history, 
Mohammedanism  has  been  able  to  adapt  to  its 
purposes,  and  in  many  cases  to  ennoble,  religious 
elements  and  usages  previously  existing.  In  our 
day,  this  masterful  faith  is  engaged,  on  a  larger 
scale  than  ever  before,  in  the  task  of  appropriating  to 
its  uses  modern  knowledge,  ideals,  and  institutions, 
all  of  which  were  undreamed  of  a  thousand  years 
ago  by  the  followers  of  any  religion. 

Let  us  attempt  to  set  forth  sympathetically,  yet 
as  impartially  as  we  can,  some  of  the  reasons  for 
the  continued  hold  of  Islam  on  the  religious  nature 
of  its  followers.  The  spiritual  vitality  of  the  system 
consists  not  so  much  in  the  new  movements  within 
Mohammedanism,  which  are  observed  so  frequently, 
as  in  the  natural  religious  value  of  its  old  familiar 
features.  Indeed  the  system  as  a  whole  is  capable 
of  lending  itself  to  a  very  vital  form  of  religious 

128    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

life,  and  in  every  generation  is  doing   so,  in  some 
measure,  for  the  majority  of  its  adherents. 

1.  Among  the  sources  of  its  strength  we  would 
mention  first  the  simplicity  of  the  main  religious 
ideas  underlying  Mohammedanism.  Islam  creates 
in  men  a  profound  conviction  that  there  is  but  one 
God— a  proposition  the  simplicity  of  which  has 
ever  proved  very  restful  amid  the  confusing  claims 
of  polytheism  and  saint  worship,  slslam  also  never 
wearies  of  proclaiming  that  God  is  great — Allahu 
akbar — a  declaration  that  for  the  sincerely  religious 
is  near  of  kin  to  the  larger  Hebrew  demand, '  Magnify 
the  Lord  with  me.'  The  adjective  'great'  has  no 
necessary  physical  or  unworthy  implications.  For 
every  grade  of  Moslem  intelligence,  the  word  akbar 
connotes  all  the  greatness  of  which  the  individual 
speaker  has  been  able  to  conceive.  Such  an  elastic 
general  term,  the  contents  of  which  have  endless 
possibilities  of  development,  may  well  serve  as  a 
simple  basis  for  a  faith  of  growing  spiritual  insight. 
Another  fundamental  proposition  for  the  Moslem 
mind  is  that  God  is  a  God  of  judgment.  This  was 
not  only  a  vital  doctrine  for  many  a  converted 
polytheist  in  Arabia,  but  is  to-day  the  simple  basis 
for  a  great  part  of  the  religious  effort  put  forth  in 
the  lives  of  individual  Moslems,  of  whatever  rank. 
So  far  we  have  treated  nothing  that  is  distinctively 
Moslem,  though  it  must  be  repeated  most  emphatic- 
ally that  these  three  great  truths,  thus  set  forth 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford       129 

in  simple,  pregnant  statements,  are  genuine  and 
dominating  convictions  of  the  popular  Moslem 

The  distinctively  Mohammedan  portion  of  the 
creed  of  Islam  is  summed  up  in  the  daily  and 
almost  hourly  testimony  of  its  followers  that  God 
is  the  God  of  the  prophet  Mohammed  and  of  all 
who  believe  in  him.  This  vital  conception  of  a 
divinely  revealed  bond  between  God  and  the 
followers  of  His  greatest  prophet  is  the  mainspring 
of  Mohammedan  fervour  and  confidence.  This 
primal  religious  conviction  is  profound  in  its 
simplicity,  and  at  the  same  time  is  so  broad  that 
it  has  provided  the  basis  for  all  subsequent  develop- 
ments of  ritual  and  doctrine.  The  great  mass  of 
Moslems,  however,  dwell  simply  and  devoutly  upon 
these  great  religious  propositions,  and  make  little 
attempt  to  develop  them  intellectually  or  to 
reconcile  them  with  their  growing  knowledge  of 
nature,  with  the  history  of  other  religions,  or  with 
the  peculiar  ethical  problems  which  modern  civiliza- 
tion is  forcing  on  their  attention. 

2.  j  The  second  element  of  strength  to  be  observed 
within  Islam  is  the  success  with  which  its  forms  of 
worship  promote  a  certain  perennial  activity  of 
man's  religious  nature.  The  oriental  temperament 
expresses  itself  and  its  moods  readily  and  earnestly, 
although  usually  in  conventional  forms.  It  loves 
to  seize  upon  and  perpetuate  those  forms  of  utter- 

130    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

ance  which  provide  a  channel  for  the  activity  of  its 
richest  impulses.  These  often  become  stereotyped 
and  to  some  extent  meaningless,  but  yet,  through 
very  force  of  repetition,  they  are  maintained  close 
at  hand  as  instruments  of  the  spirit  ready  for  the 
use  of  the  oriental  nature  when  aroused.  And  how 
truly  and  how  frequently  the  religious  nature  of 
Moslems  is  called  into  genuine  activity  in  connexion 
with  their  forms  of  worship  is  perhaps  rarely 
realized  by  those  who  are  familiar  chiefly  with 
the  degradation  and  the  ignorance  of  the  average 
Moslem  community. 

We  see,  for  example,  what  a  far-reaching  impres- 
sion on  the  religious  psychology  of  the  Oriental  is 
produced  by  the  acted  and  spoken  prayer  of  Islam. 
To  those  brought  up  under  the  system,  the  genu- 
flections of  the  stated  Moslem  prayer  and  the  audible 
utterance  with  which  it  is  accompanied  furnish  as 
natural  and  grateful  a  channel  of  self-expression, 
godward,  as  is  provided  for  oriental  self-expression, 
manward,  by  the  rich  and  elaborate  though  stereo- 
typed usages  of  polite  social  life. 

Reference  should  be  made  here  to  the  effect  on 
Moslems  of  the  call  to  prayer  from  the  minaret. 
The  more  artistic  and  poetic  impression  made  on 
the  occidental  traveller  probably  never  enters  the 
mind  of  the  Moslem.  On  his  part  the  impression 
made  is  more  concrete  and  of  practical  religious 
import.  He  is  proud  that  the  faith  of  Islam  is 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford      131 

thereby  honoured  and  proclaimed.  Though  but  a 
small  percentage  of  any  community  may  be  found 
to  obey  regularly  the  call  of  the  mu'azzin  by  attend- 
ance upon  the  mosque,  nevertheless  every  Moslem 
who  hears  that  cry  derives  from  it  a  sense  of  religious 
satisfaction  that  is  of  vast  import  in  perpetuating 
the  hold  of  the  system  on  its  votaries.  The  mu'azzin 
performs  a  certain  priestly  service  for  his  co-religion- 
ists which  is  approved,  more  or  less  consciously,  by 
every  individual  believer  within  the  radius  of  that 
unique  call. 

A  similar  activity  of  the  religious  nature  is  also 
promoted  effectively  by  the  use  of  the  qibla,  or 
turning-point  in  prayer.  Every  Moslem  intends  to 
face  Mecca  in  all  stated  prayer,  and  from  this  action 
he  derives  much  the  same  satisfaction  as  did  Daniel 
when  he  looked  three  times  a  day  towards  his  qibla 
at  Jerusalem.  Here  is  a  democratic  and  universal 
act  of  religious  ritual  which  gives  great  assurance  to 
the  believer,  not  only  when  engaged  in  prayer  but 
especially  during  his  last  illness  when  his  bed  is 
turned  that  he  may  face  Mecca.  The  same  symbolic 
action  brings  great  comfort  to  the  stricken  mourners 
as  they  reverently  lay  the  body  of  the  dead  on  its 
right  side  in  the  grave,  with  the  face  turned  toward 
their  holy  city.  Moslem  society  has  nowhere  yet 
outgrown  the  stage  of  religious  symbolism  in  which 
these  acts  seem  of  vital  significance. 

Brief  reference  must  also  be  made  to  the  religious 

132     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

value  of  the  fast  month  because  of  the  heroic  demand 
it  makes  upon  the  will  of  the  believer.  It  is  all  too 
easy  a  method  of  criticism  to  dilate  exclusively  on 
the  crude  inconsistencies  and  the  hypocrisy  that 
disfigure  the  fast — defects  that  have  appeared  in 
every  elaborate  fast  ritual  in  history.  The  fact 
remains  that  for  the  mass  of  Moslems  the  month  of 
Ramadhan  calls  for  a  degree  of  self-control  that  goes 
a  long  way  to  maintain  their  faith  in  active  control 
of  their  nature. 

The  dhiJcr  worship  is  another  peculiar  feature  of 
Islamic  activity.  This  chanted  form  of  service 
begins  with  steady  eager  ejaculations,  which  are 
uttered  at  an  increasing  rate  of  speed  and  energy 
until  a  burst  of  exhausting  frenzy  is  reached.  This 
brings  each  stanza  of  the  chant  to  a  climax,  and  is 
then  followed  by  a  brief  interval  of  silence  and  rest 
before  the  chant  is  resumed  and  carried  through 
the  same  stages  as  before.  This  peculiar  relic  of 
Canaanite  religious  activity  is  not  a  recognized 
feature  of  orthodox  Islam,  but  is  nevertheless  a 
well-nigh  universal  type  of  usage  and  is  invariably 
associated  with  the  more  mystical  dervish  move- 
ments which  are  so  common.  It  is  difficult  for  the 
Westerner  to  realize  what  a  channel  for  religious 
energy  is  provided  in  the  dhiJcr,  and  how  eagerly  it 
is  employed  in  every  time  of  deep  religious  need  or 
feeling.  These  hysterical  dhikr  exercises  afford 
opportunity  at  times  for  a  whole  community  to 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford       133 

engage  in  an  orgy  of  spiritual  frenzy  which  intensi- 
fies the  hold  of  Islam  upon  their  natures.  The 
great  majority  of  the  participants  feel  then  that 
they  have  'got  religion.'  Even  the  onlookers 
become  silent  participants  in  the  blessing.  Thus 
the  reader  may  realize  something  of  the  success  with 
which  Moslem  forms  of  worship  promote  an  intense 
type  of  religious  activity,  and  one  most  satisfying  to 
the  spiritual  nature  of  its  votaries. 

3.  A  third  element  of  inward  strength  in  the 
Moslem  religion  is  the  class  consciousness  that  forms 
a  vital  bond  of  union  between  its  adherents.  This 
sense  of  unity  is  being  greatly  intensified  in  our  day 
by  pressure  upon  Islam  from  without.  This  phase 
of  the  subject  will  be  touched  upon  later.  In  this 
section  it  is  sufficient  to  point  out  that  a  common 
outward  practice  in  worship,  and  the  co-operative 
character  of  so  many  of  its  forms,  go  a  long  way  to 
create  the  feeling  of  oneness  that  permeates  the 
world  of  Islam.  Though  greatly  divided  by  doctrinal 
and  social  differences,  which  have  always  made  im- 
possible any  effective  political  union  on  a  large  scale, 
nevertheless  the  people  of  Islam,  as  such,  never  lose 
consciousness  of  the  brotherhood  of  faith  as  a  ground 
of  unity  underlying  all  their  differences.  Any  one 
who  has  seen  the  Friday  mosque  services,  with  their 
long  lines  of  worshippers  performing  in  unison  the 
ritual  of  prayer,  will  realize  the  subtle  power  of  such 
a  service  to  weld  into  one  consciousness  the  religious 

134    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

feelings  of  the  participants.  Even  the  age-long  feud 
between  Shi'ite  and  Sunnite  has  not  obliterated  the 
class  enthusiasm  of  Islam,  begotten  of  the  funda- 
mental shahdda,  or  testimony  to  God  and  His 
prophet,  which  forms  the  vital  nucleus  of  every  act 
of  worship. 

The  chief  moral  effect  of  the  great  annual  pilgrim- 
age to  Mecca  is  probably  to  be  sought  in  this  con- 
nexion. The  greed  of  those  who  direct  the  pilgrims 
at  the  various  shrines,  and  the  frauds  practised  so 
brazenly  on  them  by  the  people  of  the  holy  city, 
may  call  for  indignant  criticism  even  from  the  most 
devout  Moslem.  But  these  lamentable  social  defects, 
in  most  cases,  only  serve  as  a  foil  to  the  stimulating 
effects  of  crowd  psychology  as  realized  at  Mecca. 
The  individual  pilgrim  is  awestruck  by  the  mass 
movement  exemplified  in  the  pilgrimage  of  so  many 
fellow-believers.  When  he  returns  to  his  distant 
home,  no  feature  of  his  experience  is  dilated  on  with 
more  enthusiasm  as  he  narrates  the  events  of  the 
pilgrimage  to  his  friends.  Thus  countless  individuals 
are  drawn  within  the  mystic  spell  of  a  profound 
class  consciousness  which  is  essentially  religious. 

Modern  pan-Islamic  movements  did  not  create 
this  consciousness.  They  have  each  sought  to  take 
advantage  of  it,  but  in  most  cases  with  no  great 
effect  on  the  masses.  Under  individual  Moslem 
governments  this  religious  unity  may  seem  identified 
for  a  time  with  a  particular  political  interest  and 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford       135 

organization.  This  is  the  case,  however,  only 
because  the  social  and  economic  influences  prevailing 
in  a  certain  area  have  welded  religious  and  political 
forms  of  activity  into  one  identical  movement.  On 
the  larger  international  scale  it  is  otherwise.  In  the 
latter  case,  conflicting  economic  interests  ultimately 
render  futile  any  artificial  political  union  which 
bases  itself  primarily  on  the  existence  of  a  common 
religious  faith.  Religious  zeal  can  not,  for  any 
length  of  time,  weld  different  regions  and  races  into 
a  powerful  external  movement  that  acts  in  defiance 
of  conflicting  economic  interests.  Those  who  dream 
of  an  outward  kingdom  of  pan-Islam,  and  those  who 
dread  such  a  consummation,  alike  ignore  the  chief 
lesson  of  modern  historical  science,  which  is  that  the 
grouping  of  outward  social  forces  is  ultimately  de- 
termined by  economic  necessities.  Nevertheless  the 
spiritual  unity  of  Islam  is  a  great  reality,  and  acts 
as  a  powerful  promoter  of  vital  religious  forces 
throughout  all  its  branches.  Increased  facilities  for 
intercommunication  of  thought  are  serving  to  re- 
vitalize this  class  consciousness  and  render  it  an 
increasing  inspiration  to  individual  piety. 

4.  A  fourth  religious  influence  in  Islam  that  is  a 
constant  living  force  is  the  effect  of  their  sacred 
book  upon  its  readers.  The  rhythm  and  the 
spiritual  energy  of  its  diction  are  lost  in  a  trans- 
lation. Even  sayings  of  singular  moral  fervour  lose 
something  of  their  force  in  another  tongue.  But 

136     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

the  impartial  reader  can  discover  passages,  even  in 
a  translation  of  the  Koran,  which  he  can  see  would 
be  eagerly  seized  upon  to  feed  the  souls  of  men  who 
knew  no  deeper  fulfilment  of  their  needs.  Any  one 
who  has  entered  into  the  life  of  a  Moslem  people 
knows  that  countless  numbers  draw  a  simple  type 
of  spiritual  nourishment  from  the  daily  repetition 
of  sayings  from  the  Koran ;  and  in  many  individual 
cases  the  conscience  is  thereby  genuinely  quickened 
along  certain  noble  moral  lines. 

The  methods  of  western  higher  criticism  are  being 
adopted  by  some  of  the  younger  scholars  in  Islam, 
who  are  attempting  a  new  exposition  of  the  litera- 
ture and  the  tendencies  of  their  religion.  By  some 
writers  the  nobler  and  more  striking  portions  of  the 
Koran  are  being  given  a  publicity  and  turned  to 
uses  hitherto  unknown.  The  orthodox  leaders  are 
disturbed  by  this  new  freedom  in  the  use  of  the 
sacred  book.  But  they  are  unable  to  check  success- 
fully the  tendency  of  modern  education  to  create 
new  forms  of  religious  activity  and  of  personal  piety 
in  the  Moslem  world.  This  new  type  of  devotion 
and  of  ethical  aspiration  in  the  study  of  the 
Koran  may  have  great  significance  for  the  future  of 

5^  The  fifth  feature  of  present-day  Islam  that 
indicates  the  presence  of  a  vital  religious  energy  is 
the  progressive  idealization  of  the  Prophet's  person- 
ality by  his  followers.  The  clearest  evidence  of  this 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford       137 

process  is  seen  in  the  maulid  form  of  service.  The 
maulid  is  strictly  the  anniversary  of  the  Prophet's 
birthday,  and  is  everywhere  an  occasion  for  joyful 
public  celebration.  The  term  has  also  come  to  be 
employed  as  a  name  for  a  certain  form  of  service 
in  vogue  at  circumcisions  and  weddings  or  any  glad 
social  event.  At  these  services  the  hymns  chanted 
by  paid  leaders  and  choirs  are  the  principal  feature. 
At  certain  stages  in  the  ceremony  the  audience 
participates  with  brief  responses.  The  subject  of 
these  hymns  is  invariably  the  birth  of  the  Prophet 
with  a  recitation  of  the  significance  for  heaven  and 
earth  of  that  sublime  event.  The  writers  of  these 
rhapsodies  vie  with  one  another  in  the  extravagant 
phraseology  with  which  they  set  forth  the  personal 
charms  and  perfections  of  the  Prophet's  physical  and 
moral  being.  The  adoration  of  heavenly  beings 
for  his  person,  and  the  marvellous  response  of  all 
physical  nature  to  his  advent  on  earth,  are  the 
favourite  themes  of  the  maulid  poets.  They  have 
even  advanced  to  a  mystical  philosophy  of  the 
Prophet's  cosmic  significance,  in  which  his  pre- 
existence  is  practically  assumed,  and  the  supreme 
influence  in  heaven  of  his  intercessory  function  is 
set  forth  with  all  the  florid  wealth  of  oriental 
imagery.  At  certain  intervals  in  the  service  the 
assembly  suddenly  lapses  into  an  impressive  silence 
while  all  whisper  thefatiha  prayer.  The  lips  of 
each  believer  move  but  no  sound  is  uttered.  For 

138     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

this  feature  of  the  service,  no  one  rises  to  his  feet 
or  changes  his  position,  though  all  faces  wear  an 
aspect  of  devotion.  Toward  the  close  of  the  cere- 
mony, at  a  given  signal,  all  rise  to  their  feet,  and 
face  the  qibla,  while  they  chant  audibly  and  in 
concert  a  few  lines  of  direct  address  to  the  Prophet, 
in  which  he  is  saluted  with  enthusiastic  expressions 
of  personal  loyalty  and  devotion.  Orthodox  leaders 
profess  to  deprecate  many  of  the  tendencies  in  these 
maulid  services,  but  find  themselves  utterly  powerless 
to  stem  the  rising  tide  of  popular  enthusiasm  for  this 
form  of  worship.  The  philosophic  conceptions  from 
which  a  practical  deification  of  the  Prophet  has 
resulted  have  undoubtedly  had  their  origin  in  the 
intellectual  activity  of  educated  converts  from 
Christianity.  During  past  centuries,  these  men, 
gradually  and  under  a  veiled  form,  have  imported 
into  their  new  faith  all  the  mystical  doctrines  of 
the  Church  concerning  the  person  of  Christ.  The 
modern  popularity  of  the  maulid  mode  of  worship 
seems  partly  due  to  the  progressive  crystallization 
of  the  vital  forces  of  Islam  in  the  mould  of  a  moral 
enthusiasm-fthe  enthusiasm  of  personal  devotion 
and  loyalty  to  an  ideal  leader.  That  this  process 
unfolds  possibilities  of  marked  moral  progress  is 
undeniable.  That  it  contains  a  subtle  element  of 
strength  is  seen  in  the  fact  that  it  to  a  certain 
degree  supplies  a  substitute  for  the  enthusiasm  of 
an  intelligent,  spiritual  Christianity.  It  is  to  be 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford       139 

expected  that  this  type  of  Mohammedan  worship  will 
lend  itself  to  considerable  adaptation  and  develop- 
ment, under  the  pressure  of  modern  ethical  and 
spiritual  ideals. 

This  review  of  the  vital  forces  of  Islam  may 
convey  to  some  readers  a  new  sense  of  the  religious 
reality  of  many  forms  of  Moslem  activity.  It  is 
just  this  feature  of  Islam  that  is  often  overlooked, 
even  by  those  who  are  most  familiar  with  its  ex- 
ternal features.  The  moral  degradation  all  too 
evident  in  most  sections  of  Moslem  society  produces 
the  impression  on  many  otherwise  close  observers  of 
Islam  that  vital  religious  experiences  are  the  rare 
exception  in  Moslem  life.  Not  only  does  this  view 
commit  a  great  injustice  in  its  interpretation  of  the 
Moslem  world  but  it  prevents  the  Christian  friends 
of  Islam  from  making  a  sympathetic  and  natural  use 
of  forces  and  tendencies  which  have  a  real  affinity 
for  the  Gospel. 


The  oriental  Churches  in  their  ancient  home  have 
lost  all  power  of  spiritual  appeal  to  the  Moslem. 
Until  they  become  leavened  with  a  new  spiritual 
vitality  they  can  do  nothing  toward  the  evangeliza- 
tion of  the  Moslem  masses.  It  is  very  different  with 
the  Protestant  bodies  that  have  sought  to  influence 
Islam.  They  have  everywhere  won  the  respect  of 

140     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

such  individual  Mohammedans  as  have  become 
acquainted  with  the  life  and  principles  of  gospel 
believers.  Moreover,  it  has  become  widely  under- 
stood in  the  Moslem  world  that  Protestant  missions, 
notwithstanding  their  zeal  to  lead  Mohammedans 
away  from  their  faith,  do  continually  render  unselfish 
service  to  old  and  young.  The  theological  contro- 
versy of  centuries  between  Christian  and  Moslem 
debaters  has  no  fresh  power  of  appeal  to  Moslem 
hearers.  The  latter  often  admire  the  dialectical  skill 
of  the  Christian  apologist,  and  often  admit  that  they 
are  unable  to  meet  his  arguments,  but  they  remain 
unmoved  in  their  adherence  to  Islam.  The  practical 
gospel  message,  however,  touches  a  new  chord  in  the 
Moslem  hearer.  He  gives  little  heed  to  the  tradi- 
tional doctrinal  phrases  even  when  employed  by  the 
missionary,  but  his  nature  is  often  thrilled  by  the 
two  following  fundamental  propositions  of  the  Pro- 
testant faith. 

1.  The  gospel  of  the  divine  saving  energy  appeals 
to  the  average  Moslem  mind  as  a  great  discovery. 
That  God  is  gracious  when  He  is  pleased,  or  when 
those  whom  He  especially  favours  intercede  with 
Him  for  their  followers,  is  a  commonplace  of  the 
Moslem  faith.  But  that  God  has  a  great  desire  to 
draw  near  to  men  is  a  new  thought  to  Islam.  The 
rich  gospel  word  '  love '  has  a  strange  sound  at  first 
to  the  Arab  Moslem.  Though  this  term  usually 
suggests  a  pure  principle  to  Moslem  thought,  it 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford       141 

does  not  connect  itself  naturally  with  the  holiest 
impulses.  For  this  reason  the  meaning  of  the 
Gospel  is  more  directly  brought  home  to  Moslems 
by  other  phrases.  Islam  professes  to  magnify  the 
principle  of  self-surrender  to  God,  but  it  has  no 
joyful  announcement  that  God  has  surrounded  man 
with  influences  that  appeal  to  his  conscience  and  his 
higher  self,  in  order  that  human  nature  everywhere 
may  be  awakened  to  faith,  and  may  be  enabled  to 
make  an  intelligent  and  loyal  surrender  of  its  powers 
to  the  divine  purpose.  This  way  of  speaking  of  God 
rarely  offends  the  Moslem,  if  it  is  not  confused  with 
doctrinal  phrases  and  assertions  which  awaken  the 
age-long  suspicions  and  aversions  of  the  Moslem 
mind.  To  present  Jesus  Christ  as  the  supreme 
apostle  of  this  practical  saving  energy  creates  a  new 
interest  in  His  unique  personality.  It  also  creates 
a  new  appreciation  for  the  Gospel,  by  directing 
toward  this  portion  of  the  message  some  of  the 
simple  faith  in  God's  greatness  that  abounds  in 
the  Moslem  heart. 

2.  The  second  feature  of  evangelical  Christian 
faith  that  appeals  with  new  spiritual  force  to  many 
Moslems  is  the  conviction  that  ethical  interests  are 
supreme  in  all  God's  dealings  with  men.  There  are 
single  and  isolated  statements  in  the  popular  Moslem 
philosophy  which  partially  prepare  the  mind  for  the 
gospel  emphasis  on  character  as  the  vital  element 
in  revelation  and  religion.  It  is  a  new  thought. 

142     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

however,  to  the  Moslem  that  the  divine  activity 
should  be  ceaselessly  and  definitely  directed  toward 
the  creation  of  character  in  the  human  race.  This 
feature  also  of  the  Gospel  rarely  offends  the  Moslem. 
To  proclaim  God  as  a  God  of  character,  and  His 
chief  revelation  as  pre-eminently  a  revelation  of  the 
laws  of  character,  and  to  find  the  test  of  religious 
truth  and  progress  in  the  renewal  of  character 
forces  in  the  lives  of  believers — this  conception  of 
religion,  even  though  it  reveals  as  by  a  flash  the 
profound  moral  defects  of  his  own  religious  system, 
often  awakens  a  sincere  response  in  the  Moslem 
conscience.  Then  a  new  glory  attaches  itself  to 
Jesus  Christ  as  the  apostle  of  character  redemption, 
and  in  this  presentation  of  His  unique  religious 
value  many  Moslems  will  be  found  to  be  profoundly 

Even  a  limited  experience  of  the  moral  leadership 
of  Jesus  Christ  leads  men  far  beyond  Islam,  and 
prepares  them  to  make  a  spiritual  use  of  doctrinal 

As  far  as  possible  such  statements  had  better  be 
reserved  for  private  discussion.  A  great  and  favour- 
able change  is  often  produced  in  the  attitude  of 
individual  Moslem  inquirers  when  they  learn  that 
the  blessings  of  the  Gospel  depend  on  a  humble 
expectant  attitude  to  the  moral  leadings  of  God's 
Spirit  as  interpreted  by  Jesus  Christ,  and  not  upon 
the  acceptance  of  a  creed. 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford       143 


The  greater  portion  of  the  Moslem  world  knows 
nothing  as  yet  of  Christianity  except  its  external 
features.  That  these  historic  features  should  be 
totally  misunderstood,  when  viewed  solely  from 
without,  is  but  to  be  expected.  There  is  less 
excuse  for  the  heralds  of  Christianity  when  they 
fail  to  reach  a  sympathetic  realization  of  the  in- 
evitable misapprehension  and  suspicion  that  have 
ruled  the  Moslem  mind  in  its  attitude  toward  all 
things  Christian. 

1.  The  first  cause  of  offence  to  the  Moslem  is 
the  apparent  dishonour  done  to  God  by  Christian 
doctrine.  In  the  forefront,  in  this  respect,  stand 
the  doctrines  of  the  Trinity  and  of  the  divinity  of 
Christ.  It  is  usually  true  that  no  amount  of 
intellectual  explanation  will  make  these  seem  reason- 
able, or  even  reverent  statements,  to  the  Moslem 
unacquainted  with  the  evangelical  Christian  spirit. 
The  widespread  pantheistic  tendencies  with  their 
mystical  metaphysical  terms  seem  to  prepare  certain 
groups  of  Moslems  to  accept  gladly  the  doctrine  of 
Christ's  divinity.  In  the  great  majority  of  these 
cases  no  ethical  value  has  attached  itself  to  the 
doctrine,  and  their  use  of  the  term  is  only  a  travesty 
of  an  intelligent  Christian  faith  in  the  unique 
personality  of  Jesus  as  a  moral  revelation  of  God. 

1 44     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

Thus  fundamental  Christian  doctrines  are  often 
most  misunderstood  by  those  seemingly  most 
friendly.  The  natural  alternative  for  the  missionary 
is  to  set  these  doctrinal  statements  firmly  and 
deliberately  aside,  as  secondary  questions,  until 
some  common  ground  of  spiritual  hunger  and 
appreciation  can  be  developed  between  the  rival 
faiths.  This  course  is  not  easy  for  men  of  vigorous 
doctrinal  tendencies,  nevertheless  it  may  be  the 
only  course  which  will  help  the  Moslem  masses  to 
put  first  things  first.  The  Moslem  who  receives  from 
the  gospel  message  new  light  on  the  moral  nature 
of  monotheism,  will  in  time  come  to  see  the  vast 
service  that  the  doctrine  of  the  Trinity  has  rendered 
to  the  Church  in  leading  it  to  a  truer  knowledge  of 
God,  but  the  richer  personal  appreciation  of  the 
divine  nature  must  precede  any  living  use  of  the 
doctrine.  From  the  beginning,  frankly  tell  him 
that  he  may  or  may  not  accept  the  doctrine  in  your 
terms,  but  that  you  and  he  together  must  gain  new 
views  of  the  fulness  of  the  divine  nature.  You  have 
then  done  much  to  disarm  him  of  the  spirit  of 
antagonism.  Similarly,  assure  the  Moslem  that  the 
assertion  by  the  Church  of  the  divinity  of  Christ 
has  grown  out  of  a  living  experience  of  Christ's 
leadership,  and  that  a  similar  experience  of  that 
leadership  may  be  a  saving  power  to  men  to  whom 
the  doctrinal  interpretation  of  it  seems  contradictory. 
Convince  him  that  you  are  more  eager  to  have  him 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford       145 

feel  the  mastery  of  Jesus  over  the  conscience  than 
you  are  to  establish  any  particular  doctrine,  and 
he  begins  to  take  hold  of  truth  by  the  right 

Much  the  same  treatment  is  possible  in  explaining 
the  reality  and  significance  of  Christ's  death.  The 
Moslem  believes  sincerely  that  he  honours  Jesus  by 
holding  that  the  Christ  was  providentially  snatched 
away  from  death.  A  wholly  new  light  dawns  on 
the  Moslem  mind  when  it  is  shown  simply  that  the 
self-surrender  of  Jesus  would  have  been  incomplete 
had  He  avoided  death.  Thus  the  cardinal  principle 
of  Islam,  that  of  complete  surrender  to  God's  will, 
can  be  applied  with  telling  force  to  the  confirmation 
and  the  moral  interpretation  of  an  event  which  the 
average  Moslem  of  to-day  half  suspects  must  have 
actually  taken  place.  The  shrine  worship  of  popular 
Islam  has  maintained  in  familiar  use  a  large  amount 
of  sacrificial  phraseology  which  has  no  moral  affinity 
for  the  gospel  interpretation  of  salvation  by  means 
of  a  Saviour  the  principles  of  whose  life  were  glorified 
in  His  death.  Groups  of  simple  Moslems  often 
accept  the  sacrificial  terminology  of  a  certain  type 
of  Christian  address  all  too  readily  because  it 
associates  itself,  in  their  thoughts,  with  the  semi- 
heathen  formulae  or  conceptions  of  the  local  shrine 
worship.  In  such  cases  they  have  gained  no  new 
moral  interpretation  of  the  ways  of  God  with  men. 
To  Moslems  who  are  thoughtful  enough  to  be 

146     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

orthodox  in  their  own  system,  the  moral  interpreta- 
tion alone  can  commend  the  doctrine  of  the  Cross 
and  that  of  the  Incarnation.  Then  only  will 
doctrines  which  seemed  to  do  dishonour  to  God  be 
gradually  apprehended  by  the  Moslem  as  the  loyal 
utterances  of  men  who  had  received  a  fresh  mani- 
festation of  God  in  the  glorious  interior  life  of 
Jesus  Christ,  a  life  that  is  inseparable  from  the 
power  of  God  as  He  inhabits  the  human  spirit  of 
every  disciple  of  Jesus. 

2.  A  second  feature  of  Christianity  that  necessarily 
repels  all  Moslems  is  the  historical  denial  by 
Christendom  of  all  Mohammedan  claims  and  ex- 
periences. It  requires  but  a  slight  knowledge  of 
comparative  religion  to  convince  men  that  the 
supreme  and  final  revelation  of  God  was  not  ap- 
prehended in  Arabia.  The  claims  of  the  prophet 
Mohammed,  as  these  have  been  set  forth  by  his 
followers,  will  ever  be  rejected  by  the  Christian 
consciousness  as  doing  violence  to  spiritual  and 
moral  reality.  Nevertheless  vast  multitudes  owe 
to  the  Prophet  of  Arabia  all  that  they  have 
consciously  received  of  religious  knowledge  and 
moral  impulse.  Countless  individuals  have  also 
drawn  near  to  God  sincerely  and  helpfully  in  the 
name  of  Mohammed.  Such  men  know  that  their 
experience  has  been  genuine.  They  infer  that 
it  is  blind  hostility  to  truth  that  prompts  the  great 
denial  of  Islam  by  Christendom.  Modern  insight 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford       147 

into  religious  psychology  is  making  it  possible  for 
the  missionary  to  draw  a  clear  distinction  between 
claims  which  are  unjustified,  and  an  experience 
which  is  genuine.  In  the  Moslem  controversy  we 
now  can  do  justice  to  lesser  truth,  while  we 
maintain  loyal  testimony  to  that  which  is  higher. 
Most  students  of  history  now  realize  that,  not- 
withstanding the  Prophet's  limitations,  God  used 
the  personality  and  influence  of  Mohammed  to  lead 
his  followers  into  a  larger  and  truer  religious  life, 
and  along  a  more  vigorous  plane  of  character 
development.  Though  only  in  isolated  centres  has 
Islam  remained  a  progressive  force,  it  has  neverthe- 
less held  to  its  early  achievements  with  marvellous 
vitality.  The  souls  of  millions  are  still  thrilled 
by  its  message.  It  is  now  possible  for  evangelical 
Christianity  to  apply  to  the  facts  of  Islam  and  of 
our  own  religion  one  and  the  same  standard  of 
historical  interpretation  for  spiritual  realities. 
The  missionary  who  disproves  the  distinctive  claims 
of  Islam  by  the  methods  of  science,  and  its  dis- 
passionate spirit,  will  continue  to  seem  the  enemy 
of  the  faith  in  Moslem  eyes,  but  he  will  be  thought 
of  as  an  honourable  enemy.  The  Arab  race,  even 
should  it  adopt  Christianity  to-morrow,  would 
continue  to  give  a  large  place  in  its  regard  to  the 
striking  personality  and  achievements  of  the 
Arabian  prophet.  Let  us  pave  the  way  for  the 
final  adjustment  of  spiritual  values  by  projecting 

148    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

ourselves  forward  into  the  historical  consciousness 
of  an  evangelized  Arabia,  and  generously  insist  on 
doing  full  justice  to  the  greatest  historic  figure  in 
the  annals  of  Arabdom. 

3.  Very  little  needs  to  be  said  of  the  demoralizing 
tendencies  in  avowedly   Christian  society  to  which 
the  Moslem  can  point  with  honest  scorn.     He  has 
a   right    to    despise    the    moral    standards    which 
prevail  in  those  phases  of  European  life  with  which 
he  is  most  familiar.     Islam  is  often  held  responsible 
for  all  the  shortcomings  of  its  followers.     Can  we 
expect  the  Moslem  to  judge  more  discriminatingly 
of  Christianity?      How    rarely   does   the   note   of 
humility  and  confession   enter   into   the   Christian 
appeal  to  the  Moslem  world !     Perhaps  if  we  varied 
our  mode  of  address  and  called  on  earnest  Moslems 
to  co-operate  with  us  in  teaching  the  world  to  make 
a   new   surrender   to   God,    we   would  find  greater 
blessing   attending   our    missionary    efforts.      Such 
a   type   of  fellowship   would    enable   Moslem   and 
Christian   to    study   together    the   vital    things   in 
human  experience,  and  would  develop  in  each  a  new 
loyalty  to  the  moral  tests  of  religion. 

4.  This   leads   us   to   mention   the   fourth   great 
stumbling-block  to  Islam  in  the  manifest  hostility 
of  Christendom  to   Moslem   interests  as   a   whole. 
The  age  of  the  crusades  is  past,  but  the  spirit  of 
the   crusades  apparently  still  seeks  the  destruction 
of  Moslem  domination  or  even  independence.     At 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford       149 

least  so  it  seems  to  the  Moslem.  In  view  of  certain 
recent  political  adjustments,  the  cynical  indifference 
of  European  governments  to  the  Moslem  point  of 
view  or  sense  of  justice  would  seem  to  some  of  us 
to  confirm  the  theory  that  the  claims  of  a  common 
humanity,  and  of  a  universal  law  of  equity,  are 
not  applied  to  the  conflict  of  Moslem  and 
Christian  interests,  as  the  modern  ideal  demands 
that  they  should  be  applied  to  rival  Christian 
interests.  All  this  appearance  of  hostility  to  natural 
human  rights  embitters  the  relations  of  the  two 
religions.  The  missionary  purpose  and  endeavour 
are  construed  as  a  part  of  the  hostile  intention  to 
wipe  out  Islam.  It  needs  to  be  made  clear  that 
the  missionary  programme  includes  the  conservation 
of  every  Islamic  right,  and  the  utmost  consideration 
for  every  conscientious  attempt  to  promote  the 
interests  of  Islam  as  a  system.  The  evangelical 
missionary  would  replace  that  system  as  rapidly  as 
possible  by  a  great  awakening  of  moral  and  spiritual 
forces  within  the  Islamic  world,  an  awakening  that 
will  gradually  lift  all  its  peoples  into  fulness  of  life 
as  made  known  by  Jesus  Christ.  This  is  not  the 
destruction  of  Islam,  it  is  rather  a  transformation 
of  its  forces  and  its  career  by  conferring  on  its 
followers  the  liberty  of  the  sons  of  God.  The 
evangelization  of  Islam  will  not  be  chiefly  or 
essentially  a  process  of  humiliation  for  its  peoples, 
but  will  assuredly  confer  on  them  new  corporate 

1 50     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

powers  and  opportunities.  No  more  urgent  duty 
devolves  upon  the  present-day  missionary  to  Islam 
than  to  interpret  his  aim  so  that  it  will  be  seen  to  be 
not  a  hostile  propaganda,  but  rather  the  enthusiasm 
of  humanity  that  finds  its  source  in  the  living  Christ. 


1.  Both  systems  set  a  supreme  value  on  faith 
in  God,  both  are  beset  by  the  same  foes  to  religion 
in  the  form  of  scepticism  and  materialism.  These 
are  ancient  foes,  but  they  fight  with  modern  weapons, 
and  can  be  met  successfully  only  by  providing  a 
modern  equipment  for  men  of  religion.  A  smatter- 
ing of  natural  science  is  bringing  thousands  of 
young  Moslems  to  deny  the  invisible  forces  of 
all  religion.  The  great  influx  of  luxury  into  the 
social  environment  is  sapping  the  moral  energy  of 
the  common  people.  On  every  hand  earnest 
Moslems  lament  the  disappearance  of  religion. 
Thousands  of  Christian  workers  could  join  hands 
with  such  men  as  brothers  of  the  spirit.  The 
Moslem  weapons  for  the  defence  of  religion  are 
exceedingly  old  fashioned.  Most  tactfully  and 
patiently  the  Christian  defender  of  religion  must 
enlighten  his  Moslem  brother  as  to  the  nature  of 
the  battleground  and  the  use  of  modern  arguments. 
On  these  fundamental  questions  it  is  possible  for 
earnest  men  to  confer  with  less  bigotry  than  prevails 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford       151 

on  other  lines  of  religious  discussion.  They  may 
learn  to  unite  in  the  service  of  moral  and  religious 
principle  without  any  immediate  alteration  in  the 
historic  position  of  their  respective  faiths.  Such 
mutual  respect  and  co-operation  is  never  far  from 
the  kingdom  of  God. 

2.  Another  point  of  contact  between  the  better 
elements  of  Islam  and  Christianity  is  to  be  found 
in  the  modern  awakening  to  social  aspirations 
and  reform.  Everywhere  new  interests  are  being 
aroused  in  Islam.  Men  are  discussing  the  aspects 
of  civilization  by  which  society  is  ennobled.  It  is 
becoming  a  commonplace  of  Moslem  writers  to  speak 
of  the  vast  influence  of  women  for  good  or  evil,  and 
to  advocate  the  training  of  girls  for  a  noble  woman- 
hood. This  is  not  infrequently  coupled  with  the 
demand  that  the  modesty  and  retirement  of  the 
veil  be  maintained  as  against  the  painted  and 
fashionable  immodesty  of  European  civilization. 
The  new  and  the  old  mingle  strangely  together 
in  the  new  awakening,  but  there  is  a  genuine  desire 
to  lift  society  on  to  a  new  level.  Here  again  there 
is  a  common  ground  of  aspirations  for  social  reform 
which  can  be  made  use  of  in  the  interests  of  a 
larger  spiritual  union,  and  which  will  draw  together 
in  a  new  bond  many  of  the  social  leaders  in  the 
two  religions. 

These  two  points  of  contact  may  now  be  sys- 
tematically developed  by  the  missionary.  Some 

152    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

workers  still  fear  that  zeal  for  social  reform  has 
no  necessary  affinity  for  saving  faith.  Can  that 
old  dualism  be  successfully  maintained  in  the  face 
of  the  modern  demand  for  the  practical  moral 
renewal  of  society  in  the  interests  of  a  nobler 
individual  life  ? 


The  missionary  experience  of  the  Christian  Church 
may  be  expected  not  only  to  renew  her  energies 
but  to  react  even  on  her  own  inner  development. 
How  far  may  her  experience  with  Islam  modify 
any  of  her  thought  processes?  This  may  seem  a 
startling  question  for  the  missionary  to  put  to 
himself,  but  it  may  contain  some  valuable  sug- 
gestions as  to  the  best  attitude  and  method  to 
be  adopted  on  the  mission  field.  It  is  only  as 
mere  suggestions  that  the  writer  would  venture 
to  point  out  two  possible  lines  of  favourable 
influence  by  Islam  on  Christianity. 

1.  The  first  is  that  Christian  leaders  will  come 
to  use  a  simpler  and  less  confusing  spiritual  ter- 
minology. Only  as  one  has  occasion  to  present  to 
Moslems  the  average  type  of  devotional  literature 
does  one  become  aware  of  the  extraordinary  con- 
fusion of  thought  that  is  produced  in  their  mind 
by  the  mixture  of  figurative  terms  with  simple 
matter-of-fact  statements.  The  Moslem  often  fails 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford        153 

to  see  just  what  we  are  most  desirous  to  prove 
to  him — that  Jesus  leads  us  directly  to  God.  An 
educated  Moslem  inquirer  asked  pathetically  of 
a  lady  missionary  in  the  Sudan,  'What  is  the 
secret  of  the  great  difference  between  your  religion 
and  ours  ? '  Her  reply  was,  '  It  is  because  we  have 
learned  to  love  Jesus  Christ.'  Another  missionary, 
who  heard  the  lady  afterwards  describing  the 
incident,  asked  her  permission  to  make  a  suggestion 
as  to  a  clearer  mode  of  reply.  She  generously 
asked  for  the  criticism,  which  was  this:  'That 
Moslem  would  have  understood  your  point  better 
had  you  said  "Jesus  Christ  has  taught  us  how 
to  love  God."1  If  any  one  will  look  with  the 
eyes  of  an  intelligent  and  friendly  Moslem  at 
much  of  our  hymnology  and  devotional  literature, 
he  will  see  that  we  often  substitute  terms  for  one 
another  that  do  not  describe  values  which  are 
precisely  equivalent.  We  may  unconsciously  mis- 
represent our  Lord's  purpose  by  the  fervour  of 
our  figurative  phraseology.  Whatever  confuses  the 
Moslem  must  to  a  slight  degree  at  least  confuse 
our  own  children  and  pupils.  Mission  experience 
among  Moslems  may  clarify  and  simplify  the  terms 
in  which  the  central  spiritual  values  of  the  Gospel 
are  set  forth  by  the  Church. 

2.  The  second  line  of  development  in  Christian 
thought  that  may  be  promoted  by  contact  with 
missions  to  Islam,  is  the  conviction  that  the  rapid 

154    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

extension  of  the  Kingdom  among  new  sections  of 
our  race  depends  upon  the  degree  of  moral  co- 
operation that  can  be  attained  between  Christian 
leaders  and  earnest  men  in  other  religions.  In  the 
providence  of  God,  moral  issues  are  now  under 
discussion  in  most  of  the  nations  of  the  world. 
With  regard  to  certain  aspects  of  life  a  new 
earnestness  of  thought  is  manifested.  The  Spirit 
of  God  is  thus  calling  into  being  new  instrument- 
alities for  the  awakening  of  a  higher  life  in  men. 
Is  this  not  a  call  to  the  Church  to  cultivate  a 
new  method  of  missionary  approach  to  those  who 
have  hitherto  been  regarded  as  people  of  an  alien 
faith?  The  thought  moulds  of  their  faith  may 
still  be  the  crude  and  outworn  doctrines  of  a 
bygone  religious  movement,  but  their  natures  are 
throbbing  under  the  vital  appeal  of  newly  revealed 
moral  and  social  needs.  No  immediate  purpose 
is  served  by  discussing  with  them  the  religious 
doctrines  to  which  mainly  through  force  of  habit 
they  cling.  Let  us  give  our  time  and  strength  to 
developing  a  sense  of  co-operation  between  their 
newly  awakened  manhood  and  all  that  is  Christlike 
in  western  men.  Then  the  dead  can  be  left  to 
bury  their  dead,  while  the  living  interests  of  man 
are  seen  to  be  the  direct  concern  of  the  kingdom 
of  God  and  of  His  Christ.  Hopeful  moral  move- 
ments are  beginning  to  take  hold  of  educated 
minds  in  Islam.  Though  many  such  individuals 

Fourth  Study — Stewart  Crawford        155 

have  small  interest  in  the  Christian  creed,  they 
long  to  share  the  moral  uplift  of  Protestantism. 
The  message  for  these  men  is  the  moral  stimulus 
to  be  found  in  taking  Christ's  point  of  view.  Where 
even  a  slight  degree  of  moral  co-operation  becomes 
possible  there  is  born  a  sympathetic  relationship 
between  Moslem  and  Christian.  The  changed 
situation  will  bring  in  the  dawn  of  a  new  era 
for  Islam  and  the  development  of  a  larger  com- 
prehension of  divine  methods  by  the  Church. 


By  Professor  SIRAJU  'D  DIN,  Forman  Christian 
College,  Lahore  (Presbyterian  Church  in  the 
United  States  of  America). 


By  Professor  SIRAJU  'D  DIN 

FOLLOWING  upon  papers  treating  of  Islam  in  Egypt, 
Persia,  Sumatra  and  Syria,  the  present  article  is 
written  by  an  Indian  convert  from  Islam,  a  resident 
of  Lahore,  the  capital  of  the  Panjab. 

The  British  Empire  has  been  called  the  greatest 
Mohammedan  power  in  the  world  and  India  is  by 
far  the  most  Mohammedan  of  British  possessions.  In 
India,  Bengal  has  a  larger  number  of  Mohammedans 
than  the  Panjab,  but  the  Bengal  Mohammedans 
are  outnumbered  by  the  Hindus,  and  in  point  of 
influence  and  education  they  are  far  behind.  The 
Panjab  is  therefore  the  most  Mohammedan  of 
India's  provinces ;  the  bulk  of  the  Panjab  popula- 
tion being  Mohammedans,  and  in  point  of  influence, 
as  well  as  on  account  of  the  proximity  of  the 
Mohammedan  countries  of  Afghanistan,  Baluchistan 
and  Persia,  the  Panjab  holds  a  unique  position  in 
India  as  the  stronghold  of  Indian  Mohammedanism. 
It  is  also  noteworthy  that  the  largest  number  of 

Christian   converts  from  Islam   in   India   are  from 


1 60    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

the  Panjab.  Indian  Mohammedans  are  also  non- 
Arabic  speaking  people.  I  emphasize  this  point, 
for  the  Mohammedan  scriptures,  as  scriptures,  are 
read  and  the  entire  canonical  Mohammedan  de- 
votional exercises  are  conducted  up  to  the  present 
time — the  twentieth  century  of  the  Christian  and 
the  fourteenth  century  of  the  Mohammedan  era — 
in  Arabic,  a  language  altogether  unintelligible  to 
nine  hundred  and  ninety-nine  out  of  every  thousand 
of  Indian  Mohammedans.  From  what  I  know  of  the 
spirit  of  Islam,  I  venture  to  make  the  same  state- 
ment about  Mohammedans  all  over  the  world, 
except  Arabia,  Egypt  and  Syria,  where  Arabic  is 
the  spoken  language  of  Mohammedans.  Through 
their  political  and  educational  conditions  Indian 
Mohammedans  have  been  more  thoroughly  leavened 
by  western  civilization  than  the  Mohammedans  of 
any  other  country  in  the  world,  not  excepting  even 
Turkey  in  Europe. 

I  write  therefore  from  the  point  of  view  of  one 
who  is  familiar  with  Mohammedanism  as  it  prevails 
in  the  Panjab.  I  have  accepted  the  invitation  to 
write  on  the  subject  of  the  vital  forces  of  Christianity 
and  Islam  for  two  reasons :  First,  because  of  my 
personal  experience  of  some  of  the  good  things  of 
both  these  faiths ;  secondly,  because  during  the 
course  of  my  research  as  an  inquirer  (which  lasted 
for  nine  long  years,  and  of  which  during  the  first 
four  years  all  my  spare  time,  before  and  after 

Fifth  Study — Siraju  'd  Djn  161 

school  and  college  hours,  was  almost  exclusively 
devoted  to  secret  prayerful  investigation)  although 
at  first  the  whole  realm  of  religion  seemed  to  me 
to  be  like  an  infinite  expanse  with  no  visible 
horizon,  and  the  search  after  God  like  an  ocean 
whose  shores  are  beyond  human  ken,  I  very  soon 
came  to  hold  the  position  that  truth  lay  between 
Islam  and  Christianity  and  all  my  subsequent 
thought  was  consequently  confined  to  these  two 


To  start  with,  it  will  help  us  to  remember  that 
Islam  is  a  Semitic  faith  in  its  origin,  its  conception 
and  its  power,  belonging  as  it  does  to  the  brother- 
hood of  the  trio  of  faiths  claiming  Abraham  as 
their  great  pillar  and  in  an  important  sense  their 
founder;  that  it  claims  to  be  the  successor  and 
the  superseder  of  Judaism  and  Christianity,  and 
that  its  sacred  book  has  borrowed  unreservedly 
from  the  history  of  these  two  faiths — unfortunately 
making  a  regular  mess  of  sacred  history  for  lack 
of  the  historic  sense  in  the  mind  of  its  author — 
as  well  as  from  the  moral,  social  and  political  codes 
of  both  systems  and  particularly  the  former.  It 
will  also  help  us  in  understanding  Islam,  as  well 
as  in  dealing  with  Moslems,  to  conceive  of  Islam 
as  Judaism  revived,  reformed  (in  the  partial  light 
of  Christianity)  and  perpetuated.  With  all  due 


1 62     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

reverence  for  the  word  of  God  we  may  in  our 
dealings  with  the  Mohammedans  justifiably  expand 
its  teachings  as  follows:  'The  law  was  given  by 
Moses;  grace  and  truth  came  by  Jesus  Christ: 
but  during  the  age  of  grace,  owing  chiefly  to  the 
gracelessness  of  its  advocates,  law  was  reintroduced 
by  the  great  son  of  Hagar,  re-establishing  for 
millions  of  the  human  race  the  covenant  of  Mount 
Sinai  in  Arabia  which  gendereth  to  bondage — 
finally,  to  bring,  let  us  hope,  in  the  providence  of 
God,  many  of  these  millions  to  partake  in  the 
blessings  of  the  new  covenant  as  citizens  of 
Jerusalem  which  is  above  and  is  free  and  the 
mother  of  us  all.'  For  the  exceedingly  close 
resemblance  between  the  Jew  and  the  Mohammedan 
notice  the  articles  in  the  creed  of  Islam  which 
express  belief  in  God  and  in  His  angels  and  in  His 
books  (all  the  books  of  the  Old  and  New  Testa- 
ments) and  in  His  prophets  (all  the  Old  Testament 
prophets  and  Jesus  as  another  of  the  long  line 
of  prophets)  and  in  the  day  of  judgment,  and  the 
apportioning  of  good  and  evil  by  Himself,  and  in 
the  resurrection  of  the  dead  (not  in  the  trans- 
migration of  souls). 

After  Professor  Crawford's  most  sympathetic, 
impartial  and  forcible  description  of  the  vital  forces 
of  Islam,  I  shall  only  very  briefly  touch  on  some 
of  the  vital  points.  I  make  his  account  my  own 
and  most  strongly  re-invite  the  attention  of  every 

Fifth  Study— Sir  aju  V  Din  163 

missionary  working  among  Mohammedans  to  this 
part  of  his  paper  as  well  as  to  his  statement  of 
those  features  in  Christianity  that  repel  Moslems, 
for  I  believe  that  the  sources  and  depth  of  the 
vitality  of  Islam  at  its  best  are  not  generally 
understood  by  missionaries ;  hence  largely  the  failure 
in  winning  Mohammedans  for  Christ. 

The  foremost  teaching  of  Islam  is  that  emphati- 
cally Jewish  teaching  of  the  one  God,  Jehovah,  the 
Moslems1  Allah  in  contradistinction  to  the  gods  of 
the  heathen,  which  is  the  one  great  lesson  of  the 
whole  Old  Testament  history  and  teaching.  Hence 
Roman  Catholic  Christianity  on  account  of  certain 
idolatrous  practices  creates  great  repulsion  in  the 
mind  of  a  Mohammedan.  This  inheritance  from 
Abraham's  faith  of  strict  monotheism  saves  the 
Moslem  from  idolatry,  atheism,  gross  superstitions 
of  the  heathen  and  their  pusillanimity  of  character, 
and  imparts  to  him  that  sturdiness  of  faith  which 
serves  as  a  safeguard  against  the  faithlessness  of 
suicide  and  the  fears  of  plague  and  pestilence. 
During  the  last  few  years  of  the  prevalence  of 
plague  in  India  there  was  a  marked  contrast 
between  the  conduct  of  the  idolatrous  heathen  who 
in  panic  and  fright  fled  from  their  villages  and 
towns,  in  many  cases  heartlessly  leaving  their  nearest 
and  dearest  dying  ones  to  their  own  sad  fate,  and 
that  of  the  Mohammedans  who  stuck  to  their  homes 
in  the  faith  that  Allah  was  everywhere  and  that  the 

1 64    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

time  of  their  death  was  fixed,  and  who  perhaps 
enjoyed  comparative  immunity  from  the  ravages  of 
the  dread  disease. 

The  Moslem's  strong  faith  is  greatly  assisted  by 
the  easy  rationalism  of  Islam,  the  rationalism  of 
Semitic  theism,  which  is  another  source  of  its 
strength.  This  leads  us  to  emphasize  the  study 
of  the  Old  Testament  in  Christian  schools  and 
homes  as  a  basis  for  Christian  theism.  Some  of 
the  sublimest  parts  of  this  great  book  should  be 
learnt  by  heart.  The  devotional  life  of  pious 
Mohammedans  is  another  important  feature  of 
Islam.  It  originates  in  the  idea  of  merit,  but  it 
also  finds  its  motive  power  in  that  peculiar  delight 
and  consolation  to  the  soul  which  is  an  accompani- 
ment of  the  communion  with  the  unseen  and  which 
often  shows  itself  in  the  expression  of  the  devotee's 
face.  Protestant  Christianity  in  its  protest  against 
certain  tendencies  of  Roman  Catholicism  seems  to  be 
failing  in  its  emphasis  on  this  important  feature  of 
religious  life. 

As  has  been  suggested  in  a  previous  paper  in  the 
present  volume,  the  chanting  of  the  Koran  has  a 
peculiar  effect  on  the  religious  earnestness  of  a 
Moslem,  irrespective  of  the  meaning  of  what  he  is 
chanting.  For  instance,  the  following  vindictive 
verses  are  read  with  great  reverence  and  deep 
musical  effect  in  the  course  of  prayer :  '  Both  the 
hands  of  Abu  Lahab  are  cut  off  and  he  himself  is 

Fifth  Study— Siraju  V  Din  165 

cut  oft*.  He  will  soon  fall  into  flaming  fire  and  also 
his  wife  who  carries  fuel  on  her  head ' ;  or  again  the 
following  verses :  '  O  Prophet,  we  have  made  it 
lawful  for  thee  to  have  for  thy  wives  those  women 
whose  marriage  gifts  thou  hast  paid  and  those 
concubines  that  God  has  given  into  thy  hands,  and 
the  daughters  of  thy  paternal  and  maternal  uncles 
and  aunts,  who  have  fled  with  thee  from  Medina, 
and  believing  women  who  offer  themselves  to  the 
Prophet  if  the  Prophet  desire  to  marry  them.  This 
permission  is  particularly  for  thee  and  not  for 
other  believers.'  This  shows  how,  especially 
among  the  non-Arabic  speaking  Mohammedans, 
both  the  devotional  exercises  and  the  chanting 
of  the  Koran  become,  to  a  large  extent,  formal 
mechanical  exercises  with  no  corresponding  spiritual 
uplift.  It  is  interesting  to  note  here  that  Islam 
does  not  allow  music  or  singing  ;  a  person  indulging 
in  singing  is  regarded  as  an  infidel.  Chanting  the 
Koranic  verses  partly  fills  up  the  gap  in  the 
Moslem's  heart.  But  mystics,  who  generally  fling 
aside  all  irksome  demands  of  the  Moslem  law,  freely 
indulge  in  music  and  call  it  '  the  food  for  the 

The  strength  of  the  social  bond  in  Islam  may 
also  be  traced  to  its  Semitic  origin.  The  most 
prominent  feature  here  is  the  idea  of  brotherhood 
and  equality  in  Islam.  The  following  lines,  quoted 
from  a  report  of  the  address  of  a  great  Hindu 

1 66     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

speaker   in  Calcutta  in  connexion  with  the  recent 
Balkan  war,  throw  light  on  this  subject : 

In  his  opinion,  the  so-called  democracy  in  Europe 
existed  only  in  name.  Caste  in  India,  however  bad 
and  much  maligned  it  might  be,  was  a  thousand 
times  better  than  the  invidious  distinction  observed 
between  the  rich  and  the  poor.  Real  democracy  lay 
in  the  teachings  and  the  lofty  religion  of  the  Prophet 
of  Arabia.  He  had  been  to  Lucknow  where  he  visited 
a  building  which,  he  was  told,  used  to  serve  as  a 
common  place  of  worship  during  the  Mohammedan 
rule.  While  going  round  the  edifice,  he  asked  his 
guide,  *  What  portion  used  to  be  the  place  for  the 
Nawab  and  his  family  during  divine  service  ? '  This 
query  irritated  the  gentleman,  who  said  rather  ex- 
citedly, 'What?  Place  for  the  Nawab  in  the  house 
of  God  ?  The  Nawab  stood  by  the  common  street 
beggar.'  This,  remarked  the  speaker,  was  true 
democracy  which  no  religion  except  Islam,  not  even 
Hinduism,  could  establish.  Europe  was  drifting  on 
the  current  of  unmanning  materialistic  luxury.  So  it 
was  indispensable  that  Turkey  should  be  there  with 
the  transcendental  teachings  of  self-abnegation  of  her 

That  the  teaching  and  example  of  the  Prophet 
of  Nazareth  on  the  subject  of  the  brotherhood  of 
man  are  unequalled  in  history  is  admitted  by  all, 
but  the  deplorable  fact  yet  remains  that  the 
unchristian  materialistic  tendencies  of  modern 
civilization,  which  are  shutting  men  out  from  one 
another  on  account  of  the  colour  bar  and  the 

Fifth  Study — Siraju  'd  Din  167 

barrier  of  riches,  are  sapping  the  foundations  of 
the  highest  spiritual  life  in  Christendom  and  keep- 
ing people  away  from  Him  who  came  to  establish 
the  reign  of  freedom  and  brotherhood  on  earth  and 
mixed  on  terms  of  equality  with  the  humblest  and 
the  lowliest,  the  outcast  and  the  publican. 

The  last  but  not  the  least  of  the  vital  forces  of 
Islam  is  that  supplied  by  Sufiism  or  mysticism, 
which  by  its  secret  teaching  has  coloured  the  whole 
life  of  Islam.  No  Mohammedans,  except  perhaps 
the  Wahhabis,  are  truly  Unitarians ;  all  others  have 
been  led  to  deify  Mohammed  more  or  less.  I  had 
a  Wahhabi  neighbour  who  would  never  sing  any  of 
those  beautiful  hymns  addressed  to  Mohammed 
which  are  the  life  and  soul  of  an  ordinary  devout 
Mohammedan.  There  was  a  famous  old  devout 
man  in  the  same  neighbourhood,  a  great  author  of 
hymns,  whose  very  breath  of  life  it  was  to 
compose  hymns  in  adoration  of  Mohammed.  The 
devout  Mohammedan  is  never  so  enthusiastic  as 
when  he  calls  on  his  Prophet, '  Yd  Nabi '  (O  Prophet), 
'  intercede  for  me  before  God  on  the  judgment 
day  and  have  my  sins  forgiven.'  Hymns  to  the 
Prophet  are  sung  most  enthusiastically  and  devotion- 
ally  on  the  birthday  of  Mohammed  (a  very  common 
practice  which  is  sometimes  condemned  by  the 
ultra- orthodox  Mohammedans  as  un-Islamic  and 
savouring  of  Christianity),  and  on  the  day  of 
Mohammed's  mtfraj  or  ascension,  as  well  as  on  the 

1 68    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

lattatii'l  qadr — the  night  on  which  God  apportions 
good  and  evil  for  the  whole  year.  Pious  men,  and 
women  who  are  naturally  more  dependent  and 
religious,  are  never  so  full  of  devotion  as  on  these 
occasions.  Their  whole  nature  is  stirred  up  and 
their  whole  heart  goes  out  in  worship  and  adoration 
when  these  hymns  are  sung.  The  entire  popular 
religion  as  well  as  literature  is  saturated  with  the 
deification  and  glorification  of  Mohammed.  In- 
numerable instances  of  this  could  be  cited  from 
Mohammedan  literature.  One  line  of  a  popular 
hymn  runs  thus :  '  What  a  manifestation  of  the 
glory  of  Ahmad  (Mohammed)  is  there  in  the 
garden.  In  every  flower  and  in  every  plant  the 
light  of  Mohammed  is  visible.1  Among  the  Shi'a 
Mohammedans  sometimes  'All  the  son-in-law  of  the 
Prophet  or  Hasan  and  Husain  the  grandsons  of  the 
Prophet  are  deified.  Others  pay  divine  honour  to 
the  great  Pir  'Abdul  Qadir  JilanI,  a  descendant  of 
the  Prophet.  Two  lines  of  a  hymn  addressed  to  this 
Pir  read  thus :  '  Thou  removest  sorrow,  thou  takest 
away  pain.  Thou  forgivest  sins.  Thou  didst  restore 
the  widow's  son  to  life.  Thou  didst  transform  a 
thief  and  robber  into  a  saint.1  In  Kashmir  'the 
country  of  saints,1  the  constant  invocation  on  the 
lips  of  a  Mohammedan  is  '  Yd  Pir '  (O  Pir  'Abdu1! 
Qadir  JilanI).  There  is  nothing  more  soul  stirring 
in  Mohammedan  worship  than  to  hear  these  prayers 
and  hymns  chanted  in  the  '  service  of  the  Pir  Saljib,1 

Fifth  Study—Sir aju  *d  Din  169 

which  is  held  at  night  and  continued  until  early 
morning.  Here  then,  we  believe,  is  the  most  vital 
force  in  Islam  that  binds  the  souls  of  the  most 
earnest  seekers  after  God  to  what  they  believe  to 
be  '  Islam.' 


More  than  individual  dissatisfaction  with  the 
vexatious  requirements  of  compulsory  fasting  for 
a  whole  month,  especially  under  the  strenuous 
conditions  of  modern  life,  and  the  observance 
of  five  stated  daily  prayers  with  the  necessary 
ablutions,  the  neglect  of  any  of  which  condemns 
the  believer  to  long  years  of  punishment,  has 
been  felt  chiefly  by  a  certain  school  of  advanced 
educated  Mohammedans.  This  has  been  expressed, 
more  by  example  than  in  words,  by  the  leaders 
and  followers  of  the  school  in  a  growing  slackness 
concerning  these  two  cardinal  and  most  exacting 
duties  of  Islam.  Of  the  other  three  cardinal 
duties,  the  repetition  of  the  Kalima  or  creed 
entails  no  particular  inconvenience,  while  pilgrim- 
age and  almsgiving  are  not  of  universal  applica- 

Dissatisfaction  has  also  been  felt  with  the  lip- 
worship  of  which  there  is  bound  to  be  too  much 
in  a  legalistic  religion  like  Islam,  especially  in 
non- Arabic  speaking  countries  where  not  a  word  of 

1 70    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

the  elaborate  ceremonial  is  understood.  Some  years 
ago  an  Indian  Maulawi  challenged  the  whole  Moslem 
world  to  show  that  prayers  could  not  be  offered 
in  one's  mother-tongue,  but  no  practical  results 
have  followed  from  this  challenge  so  far.  Prayers 
are  still  repeated  in  Arabic  by  Mohammedans 
all  over  India.  Sufi  ism  or  mysticism  may  be 
regarded  from  this  point  of  view  as  a  reaction 
against  the  legalism  of  Islam.  It  is  a  common 
saying  among  the  Mohammedans  that  '  true  inward 
peace  and  consolation  can  be  found  not  in  legalistic 
Islam,  but  in  Sufiism.'  A  deep  insight  into  the 
divine  personality  of  Jesus  Christ  and  the  human 
limitations  and  imperfections  of  Mohammed  is 
afforded  here.  The  latter  in  his  human  impatience 
was  anxious  to  correct  and  reform  the  small 
details  in  the  lives  of  his  followers,  to  the  extent 
of  explaining  how  high  their  trousers  should  be 
from  the  ankles  and  in  what  fashion  they  should 
clip  the  hair  of  the  moustache,  whereas  the  former 
ignored  even  the  more  important  details  in  the 
lives  of  His  disciples,  hungering  only  to  impart 
His  spirit  unto  them,  and  knowing  that  if  they 
could  but  get  His  spirit  and  become  like-minded 
with  Him  the  details  of  their  conduct  would 
work  themselves  out  rightly,  though  not  with  the 
dead  uniformity  of  Islam. 

The  greatest   dissatisfaction   is   beginning  to  be 
felt  all  over  the  Mohammedan  world  in  connexion 

Fifth  Study — Siraju  V  Din  171 

with  the  retrogressive  tendencies  of  Islam  in 
matters  political  and  social,  and  this  dissatisfaction 
is  bound  to  grow  in  intensity  as  well  as  extent 
with  the  progress  of  education  and  enlightenment. 
This  is  but  the  necessary  consequence  of  being 
led  by  the  great  son  of  Hagar  and  Ishmael  back 
into  the  bondage  of  law  after  having  come  out 
from  the  bondage  of  the  Jewish  law  into  the 
liberty  of  the  Gospel.  First,  let  us  notice  the 
spirit  of  political  retrogression.  The  Koran  lays 
down  in  black  and  white  certain  laws  relating  to 
life  and  property,  which,  since  it  claims  to  be  the 
final  and  most  perfect  revelation,  must  be  binding 
for  all  time,  all  countries  and  all  stages  of  civiliza- 
tion ;  e.g.  that  a  thief  s  hands  should  be  cut  off ; 
that  an  adulterer  should  be  stoned  to  death ;  that 
we  should  be  guided  by  the  law  of  a  tooth  for 
a  tooth,  an  eye  for  an  eye,  an  ear  for  an  ear; 
that  property  should  be  divided  among  the 
survivors  of  a  deceased  person  in  certain  fixed 
proportions  named  in  the  Koran.  Sir  John 
Malcolm  in  his  history  of  Persia  tells  of  the 
age-long  feuds  between  families  and  tribes  resulting 
from  the  purely  retaliatory  law  of  a  tooth  for  a 
tooth.  The  writer  knew  a  Pathan  whose  son  was 
accidentally  killed  by  a  man  and  who  therefore 
cherished  in  his  breast,  for  long  years,  an  intense 
desire  to  kill  the  murderer  of  his  son ;  the  neglect 
of  this  religious  duty  was  regarded  by  the  father 

172     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

as  culpable  in  the  sight  of  God.  Hence  there 
is  no  room  for  legislation  either  criminal  or  civil 
or  social.  All  that  is  left  to  the  believer  is  the 
interpretation  of  the  law  in  particular  cases.  I 
know  of  a  devout  Mohammedan  friend  who 
declined  the  offer  of  a  high  administrative  post 
under  the  Government,  preferring  to  remain  in 
clerical  work,  with  no  prospect  of  a  rise,  because 
he  could  not  conscientiously  execute  the  man-made 
laws  of  the  British  Government  in  opposition  to 
the  God-made  laws  of  Islam  as  laid  down  in 
the  Koran.  Hence  also  the  justifiable  feeling 
of  helplessness  and  impatience  shown  in  the 
matter  of  parliaments  and  legislation  by  some 
of  the  Turks,  as  being  against  the  express 
mandates  of  their  holy  book  and  the  traditions 
and  the  example  of  the  founder  of  their  religion. 
What  a  contrast  between  this  covenant  that 
gendereth  to  bondage  and  the  glorious  liberty 
of  the  Gospel  which  is  so  elastic  as  to  suit  all 
grades  of  civilization ! 

The  dissatisfaction  of  the  modern  educated 
Mohammedan  with  the  political  bondage  of  Islam 
is  exceeded  only  by  his  dissatisfaction  with  its 
whole  social  system,  especially  as  regards  the 
relation  of  the  sexes.  The  most  potent  causes  of 
complaint  are  polygamy,  divorce,  the  veil,  and  also 
concubinage  and  jiJidd  or  religious  war,  wherever 
the  last  two  still  bear  sway.  Of  all  these,  polygamy 

Fifth  Study — Siraju  V  Din  173 

is  the  burning  question  among  Indian  Moham- 
medans at  present.  From  all  sorts  of  quarters, 
including  the  conservative  Mohammedans,  opinions 
are  expressed  condemning  polygamy  as  not  only 
harmful  but  vicious  and  even  criminal.  There 
is  a  new  sect  of  some  considerable  importance 
called  the  Ahl  i  Qu^an,  or  the  people  of  the  Koran, 
scattered  over  several  cities  of  the  Panjab.  They 
claim  the  Koran  to  be  the  only  rule  of  faith  and 
practice  to  the  entire  exclusion  of  the  Traditions. 
The  founder  of  this  sect,  when  asked  his  opinion 
about  polygamy,  told  the  writer  that  he  considered 
it  to  be  as  bad  as  fornication.  When  questioned 
further  whether  the  Prophet  had  more  than  one 
wife,  he  emphatically  declared  (in  the  teeth  of  all 
authentic  history)  that  neither  Mohammed  nor  any 
of  the  prophets  ever  married  more  than  one  wife. 
One  of  the  most  learned  Mohammedan  leaders, 
who  was  held  in  high  esteem  by  all  Indian 
Mohammedans,  puts  on  the  title  page  of  a  most 
pathetic  story  on  polygamy  the  following  words: 
'  Listen  to  me  if  your  ears  are  not  deaf,  on  no 
account  whatsoever  marry  two  wives,1  for,  as  he 
puts  it  elsewhere,  '  a  man  has  not  got  two  hearts 
in  his  breast.1  In  a  local  Mohammedan  women's 
paper,  published  as  this  article  is  being  written, 
a  lady  strongly  condemns  an  educated  Moham- 
medan, who  has  been  to  England,  for  having 
called  a  bigamous  person  a  fornicator  and  a 

174    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

tyrant,  and  then,  after  his  own  return  from 
England,  marrying  a  second  wife.  The  manager 
of  the  paper,  as  though  conscious  of  the  fact  that 
such  a  condemnation  of  bigamy  went  too  far  into 
the  roots  of  Islam,  adds  by  way  of  explanation, 
while  still  strongly  condemning  bigamy,  that  'two 
wives  may  be  allowed  if  the  husband  gives  two 
similar  houses,  similar  clothes,  the  same  amount 
of  money  to  each  wife1 — as  though  polygamy  was 
a  luxury  for  the  rich ! — '  and  equal  attention  to 
both.1  But  do  rich  men  possess  two  hearts  in 
their  breasts? 

'Marry,'  says  the  Koran,  'from  amongst  the 
women  that  please  you,  two  or  three  or  four,  and 
if  you  are  afraid  you  will  not  be  able  to  do  justice, 
then  marry  one.'  The  tendency  among  educated 
Mohammedans  is  to  defend  Islam  against  polygamy 
by  emphasizing  the  conditional  clause,  'if  you  are 
afraid  you  will  not  be  able  to  do  justice,'  so 
stringently,  and  to  interpret  justice  in  such  an  abso- 
lute and  metaphysically  perfect  sense  as  to  make  it 
mean  that  it  was  impossible  for  any  one  to  be  just 
and  hence  to  marry  a  second  wife.  But  the  practice 
and  example  of  the  Prophet  and  his  immediate 
followers,  as  well  as  of  the  Mohammedans  in  all 
countries  other  than  India  (where  Hindu  ideals 
are  partly  responsible  for  the  greater  prevalence  of 
monogamy),  falsify  such  a  prohibition  of  polygamy. 
In  fact,  while  condemning  polygamy  in  such  strong 

Fifth  Study — Siraju  V  Din  175 

language,  Mohammedans  forget  all  the  time  that 
their  Prophet  was  a  greater  polygamist  than  any  of 
his  followers,  for  while  he  allowed  only  four  wives 
to  the  believers  he  himself  had  more  than  a  dozen 
of  them. 

The  same  attempt  is  made  to  show  that  divorce 
is  allowed  only  in  extreme  emergency,  but  the 
constant  reiteration  of  permission  for  divorce  in 
the  Koran  and  the  example  of  its  founder  and  his 
best  friends,  as  well  as  the  practice  of  non-Indian 
Mohammedans,  prove  this  to  be  false.  One  of 
the  two  beloved  grandsons  of  Mohammed,  the 
Imams  Hasan  and  Husain,  held  in  the  highest 
esteem  by  all  Mohammedans  and  believed  by  Shi'as 
to  be  the  propitiators  for  their  sins,  divorced  scores 
of  wives  according  to  the  best  Shi'a  authorities  on 
the  subject. 

The  veil  has  also  its  origin  in  the  Koran,  where 
the  Prophet's  wives  and  faithful  women  are  ordered 
to  hide  themselves  from  all  men  except  their  fathers, 
sons,  brothers,  nephews  and  slaves.  The  same 
remarks  apply  to  concubinage  and  jihad.  The 
truth  is  that  the  roots  of  the  entire  social  system 
of  Islam  are  deep  down  in  its  foundations  in  the 
very  life  and  conduct  of  its  founder.  Here  Islam 
stands  self-condemned.  It  has,  moreover,  its  own 
condemnation  in  its  divine  unalterable  scriptural 
basis,  for  the  Koran  claims  to  be  the  eternal,  the 
final  and  the  perfect  revelation.  Hence  in  the 

176    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

words  of  the  note  repeatedly  sounded  at  the 
Lucknow  Conference  of  1911,  'Reformed  Islam 
with  its  advocacy  of  parliaments,  legislative  bodies, 
abolition  of  polygamy,  divorce,  the  veil,  etc.  would 
be  Islam  no  longer.1  This  inherent  weakness  of 
Islam  has  been  and  will  continue  to  be  one  of  the 
potent  causes  in  the  conversion  of  Moslems  to 


The  Mohammedan  speaks  of  himself  and  the  Jew 
and  the  Christian  as  the  Ahli  Kitab  (the  people  of 
a  book),  and  so  they  are.  As  it  is  with  a  Jew, 
so  in  the  case  of  a  Moslem,  you  can  never  make 
an  appeal  to  any  earnest-minded  Mohammedan 
apart  from  the  Scriptures.  I  have  seen  many  a 
Christian  lecturer  as  well  as  preacher  address 
Mohammedans  without  directly  referring  them  to 
the  Scriptures.  Make  your  preaching  or  your 
lecture  as  philosophical  or  as  scientific  as  you  like, 
but  base  it  on  the  word  of  God  and  keep  as  close 
to  the  word  as  possible  throughout  your  exposition 
of  the  subject.  You  will  find  that  the  word  is  quick 
and  powerful.  It  may  be  mentioned  in  this  con- 
nexion that  the  argument  from  prophecy  possesses 
a  very  great  power  of  appeal  for  the  Moslem. 
The  story  of  the  Hebrew  nation  as  depicted  in  the 
Bible  and  their  fate  as  borne  out  by  their  history 

Fifth  Study — Siraju  'd  Dm  177 

subsequent   to  the   crucifixion   carry   much  weight 
with  them. 

The  teaching  of  our  Lord  is  admired  even  though 
it  is  said  to  be  so  high  as  not  to  be  practical.  But 
the  Moslem  is  satisfied  when  he  is  told  that  our 
Saviour  literally  practised  what  He  preached.  The 
virtue  of  forbearance  as  shown  by  the  servants  of 
Christ  also  attracts  them.  But  offence  is  caused 
by  our  inconsistency,  our  division  of  our  lives  into 
water-tight  compartments.  As  a  preacher  of  the 
Gospel  a  man  may  show  forbearance,  but  in  his 
capacity  as  a  private  individual  he  may  be  vindictive. 
Hence  the  importance  of  patience  and  love  and  tact 
in  private  life  as  well  as  in  bazar  preaching.  Control 
of  temper  in  some  slight  detail  may  leave  a  lasting 
impression.  As  an  inquirer  I  was  once  greatly 
touched  by  the  conduct  of  a  Mohammedan  convert 
to  Christianity,  from  whose  hands  one  of  the 
audience  snatched  his  Bible  while  he  was  preaching 
and  walked  away  with  it,  the  preacher  showing  no 
perturbation  of  spirit. 

There  can  be  no  two  opinions  as  to  the  great 
influence  of  the  Christian  institutions  for  the  relief 
and  remedy  of  suffering,  ignorance  and  darkness,  in 
the  form  of  hospitals,  schools,  homes  for  widows, 
orphanages,  and  leper  asylums.  But  their  efficiency 
is  minimized  by  the  Christian  worker's  greater 
allegiance  to  the  profession  than  to  the  object  of 
the  profession,  by  making  the  profession  an  end 

178    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

instead  of  always  looking  on  it  as  a  means  for  win- 
ning souls.  A  medical  or  educational  missionary  is 
oftentimes  too  much  of  a  doctor  or  an  educationist 
to  bear  direct  out-and-out  witness  to  his  Master, 
and  is  apt  to  think  a  great  deal  too  much  of  his 
efficiency  as  a  doctor  or  a  teacher  at  the  expense  of 
his  success  in  winning  souls. 

The  idea  of  secret  Christian  prayer,  if  translated 
into  life,  appeals  to  the  devout  Mohammedan,  and 
so  do  the  simplicity  and  naturalness  of  Christian 
public  prayer,  as  well  as  the  Christian  family  prayer, 
the  last  being  altogether  unknown  to  the  Moham- 
medans. In  this  respect  the  simple  worship  of  the 
more  liberal  evangelical  churches  is  more  attractive 
to  the  Moslem  than  the  elaborate  High  Church 
ritualistic  service  which  may  sometimes  have  even 
a  repulsive  effect  on  the  mind  of  a  Mohammedan 
at  first  sight,  as  savouring  of  idolatry. 

Our  Lord's  miracles  when  presented  as  the 
triumphs  of  the  life  of  faith  are  greatly  appre- 
ciated. But  what  we  need  more  is  the  living  faith 
to  work  miracles.  Protestant  Christianity  in  its 
reaction  against  Romanism,  while  accepting  the 
highest  form  of  miracle  in  the  world  of  conscience, 
has  unfortunately  and  inconsistently  denied  the 
present  operation  of  miracles  in  the  lower  and 
physical  world.  This  is  a  stumbling-block  to  the 
religious  nature  of  the  Orient,  and  this  kind  of 
stumbling-block  goeth  not  out  except  by  faithful 

Fifth  Study — Siraju  V  Din  179 

prayer  and  fasting.  Notice  also  the  bearing  of  the 
greatest  miracle-working  faith  on  rational  theism 
which  is  so  dear  to  Islam.  By  far  the  most  con- 
vincing argument  in  favour  of  theism  is  the  super- 
natural intervention  of  God  in  the  form  of  a 
miracle,  and  Jesus  Christ  Himself  is  unquestionably 
the  greatest  and  most  historic  and  the  most  vital 
of  all  miracles.  In  the  presence  of  Christ  what 
sceptic  or  atheist  can  even  foolishly  say  '  There  is 
no  God ' ? 

The  ethical  freedom  of  Christianity  and  its 
spirituality  have  a  great  charm,  especially  for  the 
Mohammedan  mystic  who  in  vain  seeks  in  the 
Koran  for  something  that  is  not  to  be  found  there 
at  all,  and  who  with  the  famous  Persian  mystic, 
Maulawl  Jalalu'd  Dm  Rum!,  exclaims,  '  I  have 
gathered  the  marrow  from  the  Koran,  but  I  have 
thrown  away  the  bones  before  the  dogs.'  What  he 
strives  to  draw  out  from  the  sacred  book  of  the 
Moslems  by  the  most  indirect  and  unwarranted 
ratiocination  is  the  very  life  and  breath  of  the 
Christian  Scriptures. 

One  of  the  greatest  concrete  attractions  for  the 
world  of  Islam  is  the  realization  of  free  strong 
Christian  womanhood  as  presented  by  the  sight  of 
a  Florence  Nightingale  or  any  of  God's  humbler 
handmaids  devotedly,  quietly  and  patiently  doing 
their  work,  day  after  day  and  year  after  year,  in  the 
streets  and  zenanas  of  all  great  cities  in  mission 

1 80    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

lands,  without  any  of  those  fears  which  Islam  con- 
ceives in  the  public  appearance  of  women.  It  is 
one  of  the  greatest  triumphs  of  Christianity  to 
demonstrate  to  Islam  that  it  is  possible  not  only  for 
one  but  for  hundreds  and  thousands  of  women  to  be 
liberated  from  the  shackles  of  custom  and  to  be 
brought  from  the  dark  seclusion  of  the  hareem  into 
the  bright  broad  daylight  of  God's  active  out-of- 
door  world,  transforming  the  prisoner  of  sex  into 
a  service-rendering,  misery-relieving,  humanity-up- 
lifting angel. 

The  last  and  the  greatest  attraction,  particularly 
to  Islam  and  generally  to  any  religion,  is  for  us  to 
believe  and  to  demonstrate  that  Christ  Jesus  came 
not  to  destroy  but  to  fulfil  the  best  and  highest 
aspirations  of  every  religion,  to  present  Christianity 
more  as  fulfilment  and  less  as  destruction,  to  apply 
the  golden  rule  of  sympathy  in  studying  the  deepest 
religious  experiences  of  the  most  earnest-minded 
Mohammedans,  to  clothe  Christian  truth,  with  the 
necessary  safeguards,  in  terms  of  that  experience  (as 
has  been  already  very  partially  done  in  the  case  of 
Christian  hymnology)  so  as  to  bring  the  truth  home 
to  their  hearts  most  effectively — in  short  to  prove 
that  Christ  the  desire  of  all  nations  is  also  the  desire 
of  the  devout  Moslem's  heart. 

And  this  brings  us  at  once  to  the  subject  of 
the  points  of  contact  between  Christianity  and 

Fifth  Study— Sir aju  V  Djn  181 


We  believe  that  our  method  of  approach  to  the 
Mohammedan  should  be  essentially  the  same  as  the 
method  of  our  Lord  and  of  St.  Paul  in  dealing  with 
the  Jews.  The  greatest  power  of  appeal  lies  in  the 
points  of  contact,  for  the  Mohammedan  religion  is 
fundamentally  Semitic  in  its  origin. 

With  the  briefest  reference  to  the  well-known 
vast  region  of  resemblances  in  the  fundamental 
beliefs,  namely,  the  belief  in  the  unity  of  God,  in 
His  prophets  and  His  revealed  books,  in  the  resur- 
rection of  the  dead  and  the  day  of  judgment,  and 
furthermore  the  belief  in  all  the  peculiar  events  of 
our  Lord^s  life,  namely,  His  supernatural  birth,  His 
miraculous  life,  His  ascension  and  His  second  com- 
ing— we  pass  on  to  notice  the  phenomenon  which 
reveals  the  great  common  ground  of  appeal  in  the 
shape  of  religious  experience.  (The  writer  can  bear 
personal  testimony  to  the  fact  of  having  met  with 
men  of  deep  spiritual  experience  in  Islam,  as  well 
as  with  the  phenomenon  of  lives  made  extremely 
sensitive  to  sin.)  We  postulate  that  the  Moham- 
medan mind  has  in  all  centuries,  contrary  to  the 
spirit  of  Islam,  sought  for  a  mediator  and  found  or 
made  one  by  idealization.  Mohammedan  literature 
as  well  as  popular  Mohammedan  religion  bear 
abundant  testimony  to  this  fact,  but  we  shall  here 

1 82     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

quote  only  from  the  orthodox  Moslem's  primary 
sources  of  authority.  Both  the  most  reliable  and 
final  authorities  on  the  traditions  of  Mohammed, 
namely,  Bukhari  and  Muslim,  agree  in  relating  the 
following  tradition  which  is  known  to  Mohammedans 
by  the  name  of  the  Tradition  of  Shqfcfatu  7  Kubra  or 
the  great  intercession.  All  sinners,  among  whom, 
it  is  worthy  of  note,  all  saints  of  God  are  included, 
will,  on  the  day  of  judgment,  when  the  wrath  of 
God  is  kindled  against  the  sins  of  men,  seek  for  a 
mediator  among  the  prophets.  They  will  come  to 
Adam,  the  first  man,  and  entreat  him  to  intercede 
on  their  behalf.  Adam  will  be  ashamed  to  remember 
his  own  sins  and  acknowledge  his  inability  to  inter- 
cede for  them.  He  will  direct  them  to  Noah,  the 
first  of  the  prophets.  Noah  will  remember  his  own 
sins  and  confess  his  inability  to  plead  for  the  sinners, 
and  so  on  in  turn  with  Abraham,  the  friend  of  God 
and  the  father  of  the  faithful,  and  Moses,  the  servant 
of  God,  the  one  who  spoke  with  God  face  to  face. 
Moses  will  send  them  on  to  Jesus,  who  will  finally 
guide  them  to  Mohammed, '  whose  former  and  latter 
sins  have  been  forgiven."  Mohammed  will  then  be 
the  only  man  who  will  dare  to  intercede  for  the 
sinners.  Three  facts  are  most  notable  here.  First, 
that  prophets  are  also  sinners.  Second,  that  whereas 
each  prophet  acknowledges  his  inability  to  inter- 
cede '  because  he  remembers  his  own  sins,'  Jesus  is 
not  said  to  have  remembered  His  sins,  but  is  made, 

Fifth  Study— Sir  aju  V  Dm  183 

without  reason,  to  send  sinners  on  to  Mohammed. 
Thus  it  is  acknowledged  that  He  is  the  sinless 
Prophet.  But  the  most  noteworthy  fact  is  this,  that 
out  of  the  whole  human  race  only  one  man  is  found 
worthy  of  interceding  for  the  sins  of  the  whole 
world.  Let  the  Moslem  acknowledge  this  truth 
and  more  than  half  the  battle  of  Christianity  against 
Islam  has  been  fought  and  won.  Apply  the 
Mohammedan's  criterion  of  being  without  personal 
sins  as  a  necessary  condition  for  intercession,  and 
you  have  convinced  him  of  the  truth  as  far  as  intel- 
lectual conviction  can  go.  Furthermore,  if  there  is 
only  one  man  in  the  whole  world  who  can  be  the 
intercessor,  surely  God  would  be  unjust  if  He  were 
not  to  put  some  clear  unmistakable  marks  on  him, 
so  as  to  make  him  absolutely  unique  and  separate 
from  the  rest  of  the  world.  Now  by  the  common 
admission  of  both  Christianity  and  Islam,  Jesus 
Christ  bears  not  one  but  five  such  marks :  firstly, 
the  ante-birth  mark,  the  unique  unbroken  series  of 
prophetic  announcements  about  His  birth  and  life 
and  death;  secondly,  the  birth-mark,  His  unique 
virgin  birth ;  thirdly,  the  life-mark,  His  life  of 
unique  supernatural  power;  fourthly,  the  death- 
mark,  His  unparalleled  destiny  in  the  form  of 
ascension  to  the  heavens  alive ;  fifthly,  the  post- 
death  mark,  His  unique  privilege  in  the  shape  of 
second  coming. 

Turning  now  to  the  second  great  sect  of  Islam, 

1 84    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

the  Shi'a  Moslems,  we  find  here  not  only  the  belief 
in  a  mediator,  but  also  salvation  through  the 
mediator's  sufferings.  We  read  in  'Hassan  and 
Hussain?  by  Colonel  Pelly,  Political  Resident  in 
the  Persian  Gulf  (pp.  336  ff.)  that  on  the  day  of 
judgment  even  the  prophets  will  be  heard  crying 
aloud  for  their  own  salvation.  Mohammed  is  re- 
presented as  being  in  extreme  distress  because  his 
people  have  been  consigned  to  everlasting  perdition. 
Finally  Gabriel  brings  the  key  of  paradise  and 
delivers  it  to  Mohammed  with  the  following  message 
from  his  God :  '  Heave  not  such  burning  sighs  from 
thy  breast.  He  who  has  seen  most  trials,  endured 
most  afflictions  and  been  most  patient  in  his  suffer- 
ings, the  same  shall  win  the  privilege  of  intercession. 
He  shall  raise  the  standard  of  intercession  in  the 
day  of  judgment  who  hath  voluntarily  put  his  head 
under  the  sword  of  trial,  ready  to  have  it  cloven 
into  two  like  the  point  of  a  pen.  Take  thou  this 
key  of  intercession  from  me  and  give  it  to  him  who 
has  undergone  the  greatest  trials.'  Mohammed  then 
orders  all  the  prophets  to  appear  before  himself  and 
one  by  one  to  relate  their  sufferings.  The  keenest 
competition  is  between  Jacob  and  Hasan.  (Jesus 
Christ  is  not  mentioned  as  a  competitor,  for  accord- 
ing to  the  Mohammedan  belief,  He  is  not  supposed 
to  have  been  crucified.)  The  judgment  is  finally 
pronounced  in  favour  of  Husain,  God  Himself 
declares  '  None  has  suffered  like  Husain,  none  has 

Fifth  Study— Sir aju  V  Djn  185 

like  him  been  obedient  in  my  service.  The  privilege 
of  making  intercession  for  sinners  is  exclusively  his.1 
Here  we  have  the  real  essence  of  the  doctrine  of 
atonement,  namely,  salvation  by  the  greatest  suffer- 
ing of  the  most  obedient  son  of  man.  The  principle 
is  there,  all  that  we  have  to  do  is  to  appeal  to  the 
actual  facts  in  human  experience  and  show  where  it 
has  been  fulfilled. 

Compare  with  this  belief  the  custom  of  'Aq'iqa 
permitted  by  all  the  four  Imams,  according  to 
which  the  parents  offer  an  animal  as  a  sacrifice  for 
the  life  of  a  boy  or  girl  and  the  mulla  tells  the 
father  to  pronounce  the  following  words  at  the 
moment  of  offering  the  sacrifice :  '  O  God,  accept 
this  animal  from  me  for  my  son  or  daughter  as  a 
ransom,  blood  for  blood,  flesh  for  flesh,  bones  for 
bones,  skin  for  skin,  and  hair  for  hair.' 

Coming  finally  to  Sufiism,  we  find  the  most 
fundamental  Christian  doctrine  of  the  nature  and 
person  of  Christ  realized  spiritually  and  interpreted 
metaphysically.  We  shall  here  quote  only  from  one 
book  entitled  Al  Insaniil  Kamil,  or  ' The  Perfect 
Man '  (notice  the  Christian  title)  written  by  a  great 
Mohammedan  divine  of  the  eighth  century  of  the 
Mohammedan  era  and  covering  more  than  200 
pages  of  fine  Arabic  print.  An  abstract  of  this 
book  in  English,  called  The  Doctrine  of'  Absolute 
Unity  as  expounded  by  6Abdu  V  Karlma  V  Jlldm,  from 
the  pen  of  a  learned  Panjabi  Mohammedan,  appeared 

1 86    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

in  1900  in  the  Indian  Antiquary  of  Bombay  from 
which  the  following  detached  sentences  have  been 
culled : 

A  condensed  statement  of  the  doctrine  of  the  Perfect 
Man  as  given  by  the  author  himself  runs  thus  :  '  Divine 
nature  soars  upwards,  human  nature  sinks  downwards, 
hence  perfect  human  nature  must  stand  midway  be- 
tween the  two — in  one  word,  the  Perfect  Man  must 
be  the  God-man.'  The  author  has  greatly  emphasized 
the  doctrine  of  the  Logos  —  a  doctrine  which  has 
always  found  favour  with  almost  all  the  profound 
thinkers  of  Islam.  He  becomes  the  paragon  of  per- 
fection, the  object  of  worship,  the  preserver  of  the 
universe.  He  is  the  point  where  man-ness  and  God- 
ness  become  one  and  result  in  the  birth  of  the  God- 
man.  The  Perfect  Man  is  the  joining  link.  In  the 
God-man  the  absolute  being  which  has  left  its  absolute- 
ness returns  into  itself,  and  but  for  the  God-man  it 
could  not  have  done  so.  The  light  through  the  agency 
of  which  God  sees  Himself  is  due  to  the  principle  of 
difference  in  the  nature  of  the  Absolute  Being  itself. 
He  recognizes  this  principle  in  the  following  verses : 

If  you  say  that  God  is  one  you  are  right, 
But  if  you  say  that  He  is  two  this  is  also  true. 
If  you  say,  no,  He  is  three,  you  are  right ; 
For  this  is  the  real  nature  of  man. 

What  greater  contact  between  Christianity  and 
Islam  could  possibly  be  sought  than  the  one  herein 
provided?  There  is  the  longing,  the  search  after 
Christ ;  all  that  is  required  is  faithfully  to  present 
Him  before  the  hungry  and  thirsty  souls  and  to 

Fifth  Study — Siraju  V  Din  1 87 

show  that  He  whom  they  seek,  the  man  perfect  in 
life  and  deed,  is  not  the  one  whom  they  have 
idealized  against  facts  and  who  may  in  his  own 
person  disappoint  them  in  the  end,  but  that  it  is 
the  Son  of  Man,  who  is  the  chief  among  ten 
thousand,  the  brightness  of  His  Father's  glory  and 
the  express  image  of  His  person. 


We  shall  content  ourselves  with  two  most  im- 
portant points  in  this  connexion. 

The  first  and  foremost  lesson  of  Islam  to  western 
Christianity  and,  in  fact,  of  the  East  generally  to 
the  West  (for  Hinduism  and  Buddhism  are  also 
distinctly  devotional)  is  that  of  the  importance  of 
devotional  prayer  life  in  the  Protestant  church. 
The  East,  where  all  religions  originated,  emphasizes 
the  contemplative,  the  meditative  life,  the  life 
hidden  in  God,  the  life  of  the  groanings  that 
cannot  be  uttered.  The  unduly  speculative  turn 
of  the  eastern  mind  is  the  outcome  of  the  abuse 
not  of  the  use  of  this  exercise.  What  the  peoples 
of  the  West  and  Christians  in  general  need  is  more 
vision.  Perhaps  the  greatest  stumbling-block  in 
Christendom  at  present  is  that  of  undue  stress  on 
materialism,  the  love  of  the  mighty  dollar,  the  sin 
of  not  discriminating  between  the  values  of  things  ; 
and  the  only  remedy  for  this  sin  is  to  be  found  in 
divine  communion.  This  will  also  be  the  remedy 

1 88    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

for  most  of  the  avoidable  stumbling-blocks  that 
we  put  in  the  way  of  the  non -Christian  world,  as 
well  as  the  unavoidable  difficulties  that  come  in  the 
way  of  the  seeker  after  truth.  An  educated  and 
respectable  Indian  Christian  who  on  the  eve  of 
his  retirement  from  government  service  became  a 
Roman  Catholic,  expressed  a  desire  to  live  close  to 
the  Catholic  chapel  in  order  that  his  daily  devotions 
might  not  be  neglected.  The  earnest-minded 
Mohammedan  when  he  approaches  Christianity  with 
an  unprejudiced  mind  is  more  or  less  satisfied  and 
even  pleased  with  the  practical  side  of  the  individual, 
the  family  and  the  social  life  of  the  average  Pro- 
testant Christian,  but  he  feels  the  absence  of  the 
devotional  aspect.  We  are  asked  to  pray  always 
and  not  only  five  times  in  the  day  ;  should  not  the 
time  spent  by  us  in  daily  communion  at  least  com- 
pare favourably  with  the  Mohammedan's  devotional 
time  in  duration?  Or  rather,  do  we  cultivate  the 
habit  of  realizing  the  presence  of  God  sufficiently 
to  enable  us  to  live  in  that  constant  atmosphere  of 
prayer  which  our  religion  and  profession  demand  ? 

In  the  second  place,  the  life  and  history  of  Islam 
afford  the  strongest  psychological  argument  and  the 
mightiest  historical  proof  of  the  inmost  irrepressible 
yearning  of  the  human  heart  after  Christ.  The 
mighty  religion  that  came  into  existence  with  one 
of  its  avowed  objects  that  of  stamping  out  the  idea 
of  the  deification  of  Christ  or  any  man  whatsoever, 

Fifth  Study— Sir  aju  V  Djn  189 

not  only  ended  in  doing  the  same  thing  with  its 
Prophet  and  its  saints,  but  it  has,  from  the  very 
start  and  throughout  the  thirteen  centuries  of  its 
existence,  had  to  yield  to  a  strong  current  of  anti- 
Islamic  pro-Christian  tendency  to  seek  for  a  divine- 
human  mediator,  without  which  its  own  strong 
grip  on  millions  would  have  been  greatly  slackened, 
if  not  its  very  existence  threatened  with  premature 
decay.  We  cannot  do  better  than  let  this  truth 
be  expressed  in  the  words  of  a  learned  Indian 
Mohammedan,  now  a  barrister-at-law  and  a  doctor 
of  philosophy,  from  whose  article  on  the  '  Perfect 
Man1  we  have  already  quoted  and  who  seems  to 
have  been  not  far  from  the  kingdom  of  God  when 
he  wrote  these  words  : 

We  have  now  the  doctrine  of  the  Perfect  Man  com- 
pleted. All  through  the  author  has  maintained  his 
argumentation  by  an  appeal  to  different  verses  of  the 
Koran  and  to  the  several  traditions  of  the  Prophet, 
the  authenticity  of  which  he  never  doubts.  Although 
he  reproduces  the  Christian  doctrine  of  the  Trinity, 
except  that  his  God-man  is  Mohammed  instead  of 
Christ,  he  never  alludes  to  his  having  been  ever 
influenced  by  Christian  theology.  He  looks  upon  the 
doctrine  as  something  common  between  the  two  forms 
of  religion,  and  accuses  Christians  of  a  blasphemous 
interpretation  of  the  doctrine  by  regarding  the 
personality  of  God  as  split  up  into  three  distinct 
personalities.  Our  own  belief,  however,  is  that  this 
splendid  doctrine  has  not  been  well  understood  by 
the  majority  of  Islamic  and  even  Christian  thinkers. 

1 90    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

The  doctrine  is  but  another  way  of  stating  the  truth 
that  the  absolute  unity  must  have  in  itself  a  principle 
of  difference  in  order  to  evolve  diversity  out  of  itself. 
Almost  all  the  attacks  of  Mohammedan  theologians 
are  directed  against  vulgar  beliefs,  while  the  truth  of 
real  Christianity  has  not  sufficiently  been  recognized. 
Although  the  author  accuses  Christians  of  a  very 
serious  misunderstanding,  yet  he  regards  their  sin  as 
venial,  holding  that  their  shirk  (the  splitting  up  of 
the  divine  personality)  is  the  essence  of  all  Tauhid  or 
Unity.  I  believe  no  Islamic  thinker  will  object  to 
the  deep  meaning  of  the  Trinity  as  explained  by  this 
author  or  will  hesitate  in  approving  Kant's  inter- 
pretation of  the  doctrine  of  redemption.  Sheikh 
Muhaiyu'd  Dm  Ibn  i  fArabi  says  that  the  error  of 
Christianity  does  not  lie  in  making  Christ  God,  but 
that  it  lies  in  making  God  Christ. 

In  summing  up  his  doctrine  of  the  Perfect  Man, 
the  Mohammedan  writer  referred  to  above  rejoices 
over  the  fact  that  his  author  is  the  triumphant 
possessor  of  the  deep  metaphysical  meaning  of  the 
Trinity,  and  he  has  every  right  so  to  rejoice,  for 
in  this  author  we  are  inclined  to  perceive  the 
St.  Paul  of  Christianity  in  Islam.  How  much 
more  should  we  rejoice  to  find  Islam,  the  most 
Unitarian  of  all  religions  and  the  mightiest  avowed 
antagonist  of  the  conception  of  the  God-man  and 
of  the  Trinity,  drawing  its  deepest  inspiration  from 
these  conceptions,  in  spite  of  itself.  But  above  all, 
we  should  rejoice  that  we  are  the  possessors  of 
the  reality  and  the  fundamental  source  of  the 

Fifth  Study — Siraju  'd  Djtt  igi 

Trinity,  the  incarnation,  the  mediatorship — namely, 
Christ  Jesus  the  crucified  Mediator,  who  by  His 
cross  and  resurrection  is  able  to  draw  all  Moham- 
medans to  Himself,  through  us  who  are  the 
responsible  custodians  of  this  most  precious  of 


By  the  Rev.  Canon  GODFREY  DALE,  Universities' 
Mission  to  Central  Africa  ;  Zanzibar. 


By  the  Rev.  Canon  GODFREY  DALE 

IT  is  the  object  of  these  papers  that  each  contributor 
should  answer  the  same  questions,  but  with  as  much 
local  colouring  as  possible;  therefore  it  must  be 
clearly  understood  that  what  is  stated  refers  to 
particular  circumstances  only,  and  the  opinions 
expressed  are  the  result  of  personal  experience 
under  these  particular  circumstances.  The  general 
history  and  features  of  East  African  Islam  are  too 
well  known  to  need  restatement.  Let  it  suffice 
to  say  that  within  the  memory  of  the  present 
generation  East  Africa  had  scarcely  come  into 
contact  with  western  civilization  and  western 
thought.  It  is  probable  that  in  Zanzibar  there 
existed  a  Mohammedanism  nearer  to  the  original 
than  that  existing  in  countries  in  which  western 
thought  had  influenced  the  Mohammedan  world. 
So  much  then  by  way  of  introduction. 


For  the  purpose  of  this  paper  it  is  well  to  explain 
the   meaning   attached   by   the   writer   to   the   ex- 


1 96     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

pression  'vital  forces.'  It  is  taken  to  mean  those 
religious  forces  in  Islam  which  a  Christian  missionary 
can  make  use  of  as  a  stepping-stone  to  the  Christian 
faith,  because  not  antagonistic  to  the  spirit  of  his 
own  religion. 

In  Zanzibar  and  those  parts  of  East  Africa 
known  to  the  writer  by  personal  experience  or  from 
trustworthy  information  Mohammedanism  seems  to 
possess  vital  forces  in  the  following  respects. 

Mohammedanism  has  a  very  real  sense  of  the 
existence  and  unity  of  God,  of  the  divine  govern- 
ment of  the  universe,  of  the  providential  control 
over  the  little  details  of  everyday  life.  The  constant 
repetition  of  such  phrases  as  in  sha  Allah,  ma  sha 
Allah,  and  alhamdu  lYllak  shows  that  even  the 
more  ignorant  Moslems  in  East  Africa  have  this 
sense  of  a  providential  control  of  each  particular 
life.  The  inscriptions  on  their  houses,  the  religious 
element  introduced  into  former  heathen  customs, 
the  religious  significance  attached  to  the  principal 
events  of  everyday  life — birth,  marriage,  sickness, 
death — testify  to  this.  To  the  ordinary  African, 
with  his  idea  of  a  far-away  God  who  takes  little 
notice  of  and  little  interest  in  the  lives  of  men, 
a  creed  which  attaches  the  thought  of  God  to  such 
common  actions  as  washing,  dressing,  or  eating 
makes  God  near  and  real,  and  must  prove  attractive. 
In  ordinary  conversation  with  an  East  African  who 
has  become  a  Mohammedan  it  is  very  noticeable 

Sixth  Study — Godfrey  Dale  197 

how  thoroughly  he  has  adapted  his  thoughts  to 
this  new  way  of  regarding  himself  and  the  circum- 
stances of  his  daily  life. 

And  equally  attractive  is  the  corporate  side  of 
the  religious  life.  The  religious  dances,  the  religious 
fasts  and  festivals,  the  general  interest  taken  in 
them  by  Moslems  of  all  classes,  the  way  in  which 
a  Moslem  qua  Moslem  is  regarded  as  having  a 
claim  on  others  of  his  faith  where  his  faith  is 
concerned,  the  intense  excitement  caused  if  one 
Moslem  of  sufficient  standing  becomes  a  convert 
to  Christianity,  the  way  in  which  the  recent  wars 
with  Turkey  have  sent  a  thrill  throughout  the 
Moslem  population  in  a  remote  place  like  Zanzibar 
— all  these  facts  point  to  a  corporate  sense  which 
is  vital,  for  they  show  how  a  common  faith,  strongly 
held,  binds  its  adherents  into  one  body,  so  that  if 
one  member  suffers  or  rejoices  all  the  other  members 
suffer  or  rejoice  with  it. 

Another  vital  element  is  the  importance  of  re- 
ligious education  in  the  eyes  of  the  Mohammedan 
world.  Hence  the  numerous  Koran  schools  in 
Zanzibar  and  Pemba.  Even  when  the  Koran  is 
taught  in  the  government  school,  men  prefer  that 
their  sons  should  learn  the  Koran  at  home  first. 
The  Koran  to  them  is  the  book  of  God  and  as  such 
deserving  of  study  above  all  other  books.  And 
though  it  is  true  that  very  few  know  sufficient 
Arabic  to  reap  any  real  benefit  or  knowledge  from 

198    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

such  study,  yet  the  principle  is  generally  recognized. 
To  them  religious  education  is  of  the  first  import- 
ance, and  they  realize  that  if  a  religion  is  believed 
to  be  true  it  is  incumbent  on  the  professors  of  that 
religion  to  direct  and  control  their  life  and  their 
calling  in  life  according  to  the  principles  of  that 
religion.  They  have  a  political  and  ecclesiastical 
constitution  which  they  regard  as  based  on  religious 
principles.  They  have  told  me  again  and  again 
how  surprised  they  are  to  find  a  Christian  judge 
deciding  a  case  of  law  without  reference  to  the 
Injll  or  to  some  generally  accepted  interpretation 
of  the  Christian  scriptures.  We  can  have  no  quarrel 
with  them  for  thus  emphasizing  the  importance  of 
religious  education,  or  the  part  which  religion  ought 
to  play  in  the  affairs  of  life.  The  action  of  modern 
governments  in  the  matter  of  divorce  sets  the 
Christian  world  thinking  in  this  connexion.  We 
wish  they  would  follow  the  Injll. 

Again,  even  if  we  keep  in  mind  the  fact  that 
religious  practices  such  as  prayer,  fasting,  and 
almsgiving  are  too  much  associated  in  the  mind 
of  the  Moslem  with  the  idea  of  wages  earned  for 
so  much  work  done,  an  idea  not  at  all  in  keeping 
with  the  spirit  of  Christianity,  yet  there  can 
be  no  doubt,  surely,  that  the  habit  of  connecting 
the  present  life  with  the  life  of  the  world  to  come 
by  such  religious  exercises  is  a  gain  in  countries 
where  the  idea  of  the  vital  connexion  between 

Sixth  Study — Godfrey  Dale  199 

the  two  worlds  has  been  of  the  very  vaguest  kind 

And — not  to  dwell  too  long  on  only  one  question 
— the  two  ideas  of  the  transcendence  of  God  and 
the  sovereignty  of  the  divine  will,  grossly  abused  as 
both  ideas  are  in  the  minds  of  the  general  folk, 
contain  in  them  the  essence  of  all  true  awe  and 
wonder  and  adoration  on  the  one  hand  and  resigna- 
tion and  obedience  on  the  other. 


Of  course  the  writer  here  is  strictly  confined  to 
his  own  experience.  I  record  mine  for  what  it  is 
worth.  There  are  a  few  specific  points  concerning 
which  I  have  detected  signs  of  uneasiness. 

First,  slavery.  On  at  least  two  occasions  when 
discussing  slavery  with  intelligent  and  well  educated 
Mohammedans,  admissions  have  been  frankly  made 
that  the  present  Mohammedan  law  on  the  subject 
(say  in  the  Minhqj)  is  inconsistent  with  the  principle 
of  justice  that  you  must  not  do  to  another  what  you 
would  not  like  done  to  yourself,  and  that  slavery 
conflicts  with  an  orthodox  tradition  which  places 
these  very  words  in  the  mouth  of  Mohammed. 
They  see  that  the  logical  application  of  the  law  of 
slavery,  when  applied  to  the  circumstances  of  every- 
day life,  does  lead  to  consequences  which  the  moral 
sense  common  to  all  mankind  must  condemn. 

2OO    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

So  again  with  polygamy  and  concubinage.  Again 
and  again  in  the  course  of  ordinary  conversation 
have  I  detected  signs  of  dissatisfaction  and  listened 
to  frank  admissions  that  the  actual  results  of 
polygamy  are  bad,  that  polygamy  is  constantly  the 
cause  of  the  breaking  up  of  the  peace  of  domestic 
life,  that  it  leads  to  perpetual  jealousies  and  often  to 
deadly  crimes.  They  begin  to  see  that  facilities  of 
divorce  are  an  encouragement  to  unfaithfulness,  and 
that  the  children  of  different  wives,  on  the  decease  of 
the  father,  not  rarely  engage  in  bitter  disputes  as  to 
inheritance,  disputes  which  create  scandal  and  give 
rise  to  family  feuds.  And  I  have  heard  statements 
from  people  of  very  different  ranks  in  life  which 
show  that  at  least  a  few  are  beginning  to  recognize 
the  beauty  of  the  Christian  teaching  of  faithfulness 
to  one  wife  until  death.  They  have  admitted 
again  and  again  that,  whatever  the  cause  may  be, 
it  is  unquestionable  that  Islam  in  this  part  of  the 
world  has  failed  to  produce  a  type  of  womankind 
that  could  be  safely  allowed  the  freedom  of  the 
Christian  woman. 

At  the  back  of  the  minds  of  some  of  the  best  and 
most  thoughtful  there  is  some  questioning  as  to 
the  nature  of  the  divine  forgiveness,  as  to  the  reality 
of  a  forgiveness  which  is  largely  divorced  from 
moral  considerations,  which,  as  taught  and  believed 
by  the  general  folk,  rests  upon  the  arbitrary  caprice 
of  One  whom  they  regard  in  the  light  of  an  absolute 

Sixth  Study — Godfrey  Dale  201 

despot.  One  Moslem  who  believed  that  God  is 
merciful  and  compassionate,  and  who,  I  believe, 
was  sincere,  expressed  to  me  his  dissatisfaction  with 
a  faith  which  gave  no  outward  and  visible  sign  of 
forgiveness,  which  left  him  in  a  state  of  uncertainty 
as  to  whether  he  was  forgiven  or  not.  He  wanted 
to  know  whether  there  was  an  assurance  of  forgive- 
ness in  the  Christian  faith  and  whether  there  were 
any  definite  means  by  which  such  forgiveness  could 
be  secured. 

Mohammedans  are  willing  to  admit  the  practical 
difficulties  of  fatalism.  Again  and  again  you  hear 
from  their  lips  the  baldest  statements  which  seem 
to  convey  the  idea  that  they  have  no  sense  of  moral 
responsibility  at  all,  and  yet  in  their  heart  of  hearts 
they  are  not  satisfied.  Conscience  makes  cowards 
of  them  as  of  other  people,  and  it  is  not  difficult  to 
draw  from  them  admissions  which  show  that  their 
belief  in  fatalism  is  of  the  intellect  only,  not  of  the 

With  regard  to  compulsion  in  matters  of  faith, 
Moslems  have  often  admitted  to  me  that  compulsion 
is  a  poor  and  unsafe  method  of  gaining  converts 
to  their  faith.  They  consent  at  once  to  the  words 
of  the  Koran,  '  There  is  no  compulsion  in  religion,' 
but  then  few  of  them  are  sufficiently  learned  to 
reply  that  the  words  have  been  abrogated  by  the 
verse  of  the  Sword.  It  is  a  very  interesting  experi- 
ment to  relate  the  parable  of  the  tares  and  then 

202     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

listen  to  their  comments  on  the  words  'Let  both 
grow  together  until  the  harvest.' 

With  regard  to  the  Koran,  and  the  life  of 
Mohammed  considered  as  the  great  exemplar,  we 
are  on  very  delicate  ground.  As  to  the  Koran,  I 
have  noticed  uneasiness  as  to  the  scientific  state- 
ments in  it.  Their  belief  in  the  literal  inspiration 
of  the  Koran  prevents  them  from  saying  that  the 
science  of  the  Koran  is  the  science  of  the  Arabs  of 
the  sixth  or  seventh  centuries.  Their  theory  of  the 
origin  of  the  Koran  binds  them  hand  and  foot,  yet 
even  here  in  Zanzibar,  where  education  in  the 
modern  sense  is  in  its  infancy,  signs  of  inward 
questioning  have  not  been  wanting. 

With  regard  to  the  example  set  by  Mohammed, 
they  are  ready  to  condemn  certain  actions  performed 
by  him,  if  these  actions  are  stripped  of  their  original 
surroundings  and  presented  to  them  hypothetically 
as  the  actions  of  any  other  man.  But  as  all  those 
who  are  acquainted  with  the  Moslem  know,  if 
you  say  '  Mohammed  did  what  you  condemn,'  the 
reply  would  be  that  any  action  whatsoever  performed 
by  Mohammed  after  his  call  to  the  prophetic  office 
was  performed  by  divine  permission  and  therefore 
lawful  to  him,  even  if  unlawful  for  any  one  else. 
We  may  well  ask  if  this  reply  really  satisfies  the 
hearer  whose  moral  sense  is  not  completely 

It    must   be    clearly   understood   that   such   dis- 

Sixth  Study — Godfrey  Dale  203 

satisfaction  as  that  referred  to  here  is  the  rare 
exception.  It  is  very  far  from  the  intention  of 
the  writer  to  suggest  that  there  is  any  marked 
sign  that  the  self-complacency  of  the  Moslem  world 
with  regard  to  Mohammedanism  has  suffered  any 
serious  shock  in  Zanzibar  at  present. 


There  is  very  little  evidence  that  there  is  any- 
thing on  the  dogmatic  side  of  Christianity  which 
attracts  the  Mohammedan  other  than  those  elements 
of  Christianity  which  have  been  incorporated  into 
the  Koran.  It  has  been  observed  that  teaching 
concerning  the  love  of  God,  or  the  Christian  belief 
in  the  fatherliness  of  God  (if  disconnected  from  the 
doctrine  of  the  Incarnation),  and  teaching  as  to  the 
power  of  grace  inherent  in  Christianity  to  lift  a 
man  out  of  himself  to  a  higher  moral  level  and 
to  empower  him  freely  to  conform  to  the  divine 
will,  are  listened  to  with  interest.  The  Sonship  of 
Christ  is  as  repugnant  to  them  as  ever  and  the 
Incarnation  as  inconceivable,  but  statements  which 
represent  the  dealings  of  Almighty  God  with  the 
individual  soul  as  conducted  on  the  lines  according 
to  which  a  good  father  deals  with  his  children 
receive  general  acceptance  in  my  experience.  This 
leads  on  to  the  conception  of  God  as  perfect  love, 
and  is  no  doubt  a  gain. 

2O4    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

There  is  no  doubt  whatever  that  the  Christian 
character,  wherever  they  see  it  manifested,  does 
attract  them  powerfully.  Those  most  hostile  to 
us  fear  the  power  of  its  attraction,  fear  for  the 
faith  of  their  co-religionists  who  are  brought  into 
touch  with  it.  The  lives  of  the  doctors  and  nurses 
in  the  hospital,  the  Christian  patience  and  ease  of 
Christian  teachers  in  the  schools,  the  courtesy  and 
gentleness  and  good  temper  of  the  Christian  contro- 
versialist in  the  streets  and  the  bazaars,  and  the 
sincerity  of  Christian  devotion  wherever  it  exists, 
these  attract  as  they  always  have  and  always  will. 
Again  and  again  has  this  been  proved.  It  is  within 
the  power  of  any  Christian  in  any  part  of  the 
Moslem  world  thus  to  multiply  the  evidences  of 

The  teaching  of  our  Saviour  and  the  history  of 
His  life  attract  if  you  do  not  start  with  statements 
which  you  know  are  unacceptable.  It  is  astonishing 
how  they  consent  to  much  of  the  teaching  in  the 
gospels.  As  prejudice  mostly  prevents  them  from 
reading  the  text  of  the  gospel,  it  is  possible  that 
we  can  scarcely  do  any  more  valuable  work  than  the 
work  of  familiarizing  the  minds  of  the  Moslem 
population  with  the  teaching  of  our  Lord,  trusting 
that  in  this  way  the  moral  and  spiritual  change  will 
be  effected  which  must  precede  acceptance  of  the 
profound  truths  of  the  Christian  faith. 

Sixth  Study — Godfrey  Dale  205 


There  is  a  place  for  controversy,  no  doubt.  We 
can  scarcely  read  the  passages  in  the  gospels  which 
tell  of  the  attitude  of  the  Jews  to  our  Lord  and 
His  method  of  dealing  with  them,  or  read  the 
account  of  the  work  of  St.  Paul  and  St.  Stephen 
without  concluding  that  there  is  a  place  for  con- 
troversy in  the  Christian  life.  We  must  be  ready 
to  give  an  answer  for  the  hope  that  is  in  us  and 
earnestly  to  contend  for  the  faith.  But,  in  the 
main,  such  work  is  preparatory  only,  and  serves 
its  purpose  best  if  it  confines  itself  to  removing 
misconceptions  from  the  mind  of  the  Moslem  and 
giving  clear  and  courteous  statements  of  the  evidence 
on  which  Christian  beliefs  rest.  There  can  be  no 
doubt  that  the  deepest  results  are  produced  by  the 
good  fruits  of  the  spirit  of  Christ.  Truth  and 
gentleness,  patience,  forbearance  and  courtesy,  self- 
sacrifice,  and  spirituality  in  all  its  forms ;  the  work 
in  the  hospitals,  the  better  treatment  of  prisoners, 
the  freedom  of  the  courts  of  justice  from  corruption, 
Christian  domestic  life  at  its  best,  the  pains  freely 
bestowed  on  the  education  of  the  young,  the  real 
interest  taken  by  those  who  are  in  authority  in 
the  general  welfare  of  those  whom  they  govern — 
all  these  are  signs  of  practical  Christianity  and 
are  having  their  effect  in  a  quiet  way.  Not  all, 

206    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

by  any  manner  of  means,  but  a  considerable 
number  of  people  are  quite  capable  of  drawing 
the  right  conclusion  when  the  present  condition 
of  a  place  like  Zanzibar  is  contrasted  with  its 
condition  under  the  old  regime.  Those  who 
suffered  have  not  forgotten. 

The  lives  of  the  prophets  and  their  teaching, 
together  with  the  personal  religion  of  the  psalms, 
is  common  ground  and  affords  a  good  opening 
for  further  teaching.  Many  of  the  psalms  might 
have  been  written  by  a  good  Mohammedan. 
They  are  surprised  to  find  how  wholeheartedly 
they  can  be  repeated  by  Christian  and  Moslem, 
e.g.  psalms  cvi.,  cxxxix.  Then  there  is  the  life 
of  our  Lord,  His  parables,  His  miracles,  the 
Sermon  on  the  Mount.  When  the  desired  im- 
pression has  been  produced,  we  can  give  the 
stronger  meat :  the  fatherhood  of  God,  the  Cruci- 
fixion, the  Resurrection  and  Ascension,  with  the 
evidence,  the  cumulative  evidence,  for  the  belief 
that  the  life  of  Christ  was  the  life  of  One  for 
whom  the  names  teacher,  master,  prophet  proved 
to  be  inadequate  in  the  eyes  of  those  who  knew 
Him  best.  It  is  probably  preferable  that  the 
listeners  should  discover  for  themselves  the  difference 
in  many  points  dogmatic  and  practical  between 
the  two  religions.  Listeners  should  be  given 
plenty  of  time  for  reflection.  The  Christian's 
everyday  life  is  the  best  commentary  on  and  the 

Sixth  Study — Godfrey  Dale  207 

best  witness  to  the  truths  of  Christian  teaching  and 
Christian  principles.  If  you  cast  your  bread  upon 
the  waters,  you  will  find  it,  if  only  after  many  days. 


Here,  unfortunately,  there  can  be  no  hesitation 
about  the  answer  to  be  given.  In  a  pamphlet 
circulated  in  Zanzibar,  which  deals  with  the  effect 
produced  on  Mohammedan  scholars  by  Christian 
teaching  in  Christian  schools,  the  author  mentions 
twice  the  doctrines  belief  in  which  is,  in  his  opinion, 
pernicious  in  its  results.  (1)  Belief  in  the  Holy 
Trinity,  which  he  regards  as  totally  subversive  of 
all  faith  in  the  unity  of  God.  (2)  Belief  in  the 
divinity  of  our  Lord  and  in  the  doctrine  of  the 
Incarnation.  He  cannot  use  words  too  strong  in 
order  to  condemn  the  madness  of  people  who  can 
believe  at  one  and  the  same  time  that  Christ  is 
God  and  that  He  ate  and  drank  and  slept  and 
walked  and  rode,  was  weary  and  oppressed,  suffered, 
was  crucified  and  died.  From  some  source  or  other 
the  writer  has  heard  of  the  blessed  Sacrament,  and 
has  evidently  read  a  more  or  less  exact  statement 
of  the  faith  of  the  Church  concerning  it.  Needless 
to  say  it  is  utterly  incomprehensible  to  him. 
He  cries  with  Nicodemus,  only  with  less  courtesy, 
'How  can  these  things  be?'  Most  of  these  ob- 
jections are  of  course  stereotyped,  and  familiar 

208    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

to  every  one  who  has  had  any  acquaintance  with 
Mohammedans.  The  Mohammedan  controversialist 
is  ever  ready  to  plunge  into  the  most  profound 
doctrines ;  and  it  is  with  difficulty  that  the  Christian, 
even  in  a  place  like  Zanzibar,  can  refuse  to  answer 
without  appearing  to  the  listeners  to  be  unable  to 
answer.  Silence  is  misunderstood.  Experience  also 
has  taught  me  that  the  passage  quoted  by  Professor 
Siraju  'd  Dm  of  Lahore  'that  the  error  of  Chris- 
tianity does  not  lie  in  making  Christ  God  but  that 
it  lies  in  making  God  Christ '  is  one  that  we  shall 
do  well  to  bear  in  mind.  Some  clear  exposure  of 
such  a  misconception  is  of  first-rate  importance. 
I  have  heard  it  urged  against  us.  In  practical  life, 
the  matter  of  swine's  flesh  and  wine  is  often  referred 
to,  the  former  with  most  abhorrence,  for  the  very 
good  reason  that  a  large  number  of  Mohammedans, 
men  and  women,  drink  wine  in  this  country.  They 
confess  to  it.  The  impression  left  on  my  mind  is 
that  the  sting  has  gone  out  of  these  kinds  of 
taunts  to  a  very  large  degree. 

It  is  difficult  to  see  how  the  objections  to  the 
fundamental  doctrines  of  Christianity  can  be  removed 
until  the  faith  of  the  Moslem  in  the  Koran  has 
been  largely  modified,  because,  as  is  generally 
known,  the  misconceptions  and  misstatements  of 
these  doctrines  in  the  Koran  are  accepted  on  the 
ground  of  the  infallibility  of  the  Koran.  The 
Koran  stands  or  falls  with  them. 

Sixth  Study — Godfrey  Dale  209 


I  am  not  writing  about  the  Arab.  His  char- 
acter has  been  described  again  and  again  by 
competent  observers.  Nor  does  the  following  refer 
to  the  Indian  Moslem,  of  whom  there  are  many 
in  Zanzibar.  What  follows  refers  to  the  East 
African  who  has  become  a  Moslem,  and  is,  as 
such,  distinct  from  the  African  pagan  and  the 
African  Christian. 

Now  if  the  rules  which  govern  African  domestic 
life  are  lax,  those  which  govern  the  married  life 
of  the  Moslem  are  laxer  still,  if  we  can  judge  by 
results.  Divorce  is  rife  and  children  very  scarce. 
The  effect  on  home  life  is  not  good.  It  is  quite 
common  to  hear  people  of  all  sorts  contrasting 
the  simplicity  of  the  African  mainland  people 
with  the  life  and  manners  of  the  people  of  the 
coast.  The  coast  man  is  not  loved.  If  he  has 
a  stronger  individuality  and  a  more  dignified 
manner  than  the  native  of  the  mainland,  he  has 
far  more  pride  and  self-satisfaction.  He  is  nearly 
always  a  fatalist,  often  with  a  fatalism  which 
paralyses  his  sense  of  moral  responsibility.  He  is 
as  coarse  as  the  African  native,  but  with  a  coarse- 
ness which  is  the  more  objectionable  because 
associated  in  his  mind  with  religious  duties.  He 
is  superficial  to  a  degree,  external,  formal  and 

2 1  o    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

material,  impervious  to  spiritual  ideas.  He  is 
more  honesl  than  truthful;  when  temperate,  and 
not  all  Moslems  are  tempi-rale,  he  is  temperate 
with  the  temperance  \\liuh  results  from  obedience 
to  a  positive  prohibition  and  is  not  the  result  of 
an  ethical  principle  intelligently  accepted  and 
willingly  obeyed.  The  Koran  he  rarely  under- 
stands. He  is  very  superstitious.  He  is  clean  in 
his  person,  and  can,  if  he  likes,  be  courteous  and 
hospitable.  In  dealing  with  him  you  are  almost 
certain  before  long  to  desire  to  see  some  sign  of 
the  spirit  of  truth,  and  humility,  and  purity  and 
love — in  a  word,  the  spirit  of  Christ.  They  need 
Christ,  and  the  saddest  fact  of  all  about  them  is 
that  they  do  not  seem  to  have  the  vaguest  sense 
of  their  need  of  a  saviour  or  a  new  birth.  As 
with  the  IMiari.M-e  of  old,  they  think  they  see, 
therefore  their  sin  remaineth. 


There  are  at  least  two  ways  in  which  Christianity 
is  benefited  by  contact  with  Mohammedanism.  In 
the  first  place,  we  realize  the  value  of  a  religion 
like  our  own  which  responds  to  human  needs 
which  are  left  untouched  by  Mohammedanism  ; 
and  in  the  second  place,  contact  with  Moham- 
medanism does  awaken  the  Christian  to  some 
elements  in  his  own  faith  which  perhaps,  but  for 
that  contact,  he  would  have  forgotten,  or  which 

Sixth  Study — Godfrey  Dale  2 1 1 

hitherto  have  had  iiiKiiflirienl.  influence  on  his  life 
and  character.  Contact  with  Mohammedanism 
throw?,  in  In  relief  the  value  of  certain  ChriHtian 
beliefs,  such  OH  the  fatherhood  of  God,  the  freedom 
of  the  human  will,  the  necessity  of  purity  of 
heart,  the  need  of  a  new  birth  and  a  new  power 
to  lift  us  up  from  our  dead  Helves  to  higher 
things,  the  freedom  of  the  service  of  God,  the 
need  of  the  perfect  life,  truly  sinless,  the  need 
of  the  teaching  of  the  Cross  with  its  tremendous 
emphasis  on  the  sinfulness  of  sin,  the  necessity 
of  the  great  gift  of  the  Spirit  of  truth  and 
holiness,  the  beauty  of  a  faith  the  dominant  force 
of  which  is  love,  the  beauty  of  Christian  home 
life,  the  spiritual  nature  of  heavenly  joys  and  the 
vision  of  the  city  of  God.  'The  city  was  pure 
gold/  Others  could  add  to  this  list,  no  doubt, 
and  add  their  testimony  that  daily  contact  with 
Mohammedanism  has  helped  them  to  understand 
how  fully  the  Good  Physician  knew  what  was  in 
man,  how  perfectly  the  Good  Shepherd  has  pro- 
vided for  the  wants  of  His  disciples. 

Christianity  has  benefited  by  contact  with 
Mohammedanism  in  another  way.  The  Christian 
has  been  compelled  to  think  out  the  exact  meaning 
of  his  belief  in  the  unity  of  God,  and  he  has 
been  forced  to  think  out  the  idea  of  the  tran- 
scendence of  God.  Some  perhaps  have  discovered 
that  their  belief  in  the  providential  dealings  of 

212    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

God  has  become  vague  and  tinged  with  doubt. 
They  have  been  startled  into  self-examination  by 
the  in  sha  Allah  and  the  alhamdu  IVllah  of  the 
Moslem ;  they  have  been  reminded  that  religion 
is  a  power  that  touches  life  at  all  points  and  at 
all  times,  and  cannot  be  kept  in  a  separate 
compartment  of  the  mind ;  that  religious  belief 
should  be  at  the  back  of  all  justice  and  is  the 
true  foundation  of  all  social  and  political  relation- 
ships ;  that  our  attitude  and  demeanour  in  a 
place  of  worship  should  not  be  that  of  an  ill- 
bred  boor  or  a  too  familiar  child,  but  that  the 
outward  adoration  of  the  body  should  bear  witness 
to  the  inward  adoration  of  the  heart ;  that  there 
is  nothing  in  the  Christian  religion  that  a  man 
need  be  ashamed  of  in  the  presence  of  his  fellow- 
men  ;  and  that  a  man  is  never  so  clothed  with 
true  dignity  as  when  he  worships  the  Lord  in  the 
beauty  of  holiness. 


By  Professor  D.  B.  MACDONALD,  D.D.,  Hartford 
Theological  Seminary,  U.S.A. 



By  Professor  D.  B.  MACDONALD 

IT  is  not  now  necessary  to  demonstrate  that  there 
are  vital  forces  in  Islam.  The  preceding  papers  in 
this  series,  all  by  men  who  are  no  mere  theorists 
or  book  students  but  of  long  and  intimate  contact 
with  the  facts  of  Mohammedan  life,  have  made 
that  plain  beyond  all  cavil.  And  it  will  even  be 
seen,  I  think,  that  the  closer  in  these  writers  has 
been  their  contact  and  the  deeper  has  been  their 
understanding,  the  fuller  has  been  their  apprecia- 
tion of  the  spiritual  realities  lying  behind  their 
subject.  It  is  easy  to  see  the  superficialities  of  a 
religion — its  hypocrisies,  formalities,  inadequacies — 
but  it  takes  patience  and  sympathy  to  pierce  under- 
neath it  to  the  leading  of  the  One  Spirit  and  to 
find  in  its  votaries,  as  we  so  often  may,  the  anima 
naturaliter  Christiana. 

I  have  no  such  claim  to  be  heard  as  these  writers 
can  show.  My  personal  contact  with  the  East  is 
measured  by  months  and  not  by  years.  The  sources 

on  which,  for  my  impressions,  I  must  now  draw  are, 


2 1 6     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

on  one  side,  the  writings  of  Mohammedan  theo- 
logians— mystics,  dogmaticians,  philosophers — and, 
on  another  side,  that  mare  magnum  of  popular 
literature  mirroring  in  the  ideas  and  events  of  the 
lives  of  the  masses  the  final  results,  working  down 
into  the  common  soul  of  Islam,  of  all  those  aspira- 
tions, constructions  and  dialectic  searchings.  Such 
books  must  always,  for  the  home-staying  student, 
take  the  place  of  contact  with  the  Moslem  world 
itself,  and  the  best  known  of  them  all  is,  of  course, 
the  Arabian  Nights.  They  do  not  mislead  nor 
misinform,  as  does  that  contact  so  of  ben  until  it  is 
controlled,  and  as  still  oftener  do  books  of  travel, 
and  I  would  bear  my  testimony  now  that  when  I 
did  meet  the  Moslem  world  face  to  face,  the  picture 
of  its  workings  and  ideas  and  usages  which  I  had 
gained  from  these  romances,  poems  and  religious 
tales  needed  modification  in  no  essential  point — 
almost,  even,  in  no  detail.  I  need  hardly  add  that 
to  attain  this  result  complete  texts  must  be  read. 
Islam  must  be  taken  as  it  is;  otherwise  it  is  not 

But  how,  to  such  an  onlooker,  does  the  situation 
present  itself?  Broadly,  I  am  in  agreement  with 
all  that  has  preceded  in  these  papers  on  the  religious 
life  in  Islam.  It  is  needless  here  to  rehearse  the 
details.  On  two  elements  only  in  that  life,  and 
these  paradoxically  confronting  one  another,  I  would 
feel  like  laying  more  stress.  First,  the  prayer- 

Seventh  Study — D.  B.  Macdonald       217 

meetings  of  the  dervishes,  the  so-called  dhikrs  or 
zikrs,  and  all  the  emotional  religious  life  of  which 
these  are  the  public  and  concerted  expression.  Only 
those,  on  the  one  hand,  who  minimize  the  part 
which  religion  plays  in  life  can  disregard  these  its 
normal  vehicles.  And  only  those,  on  the  other, 
who  have  actually,  and  with  open  mind  and  heart, 
witnessed  these  acts  of  worship  and,  still  more,  have 
talked — soul  to  soul — with  men  who  have  felt  these 
influences  personally  and  could  describe  them — only 
these  can  really  weigh  how  enormous  a  part  they 
hold  in  stimulating,  deepening  and  purifying  the 
religious  consciousness.  Undoubtedly  there  lie  in 
them  also  great  dangers.  All  manifestations  of 
religious  emotion  are  surrounded  with  possibilities 
of  hypocrisy,  self-delusion  and  abandonment  of  self- 
control.  But  those  who  know  the  theological 
literature  of  Islam  will  remember  how  elaborately 
its  clearest  and  most  spiritual  minds  have  dealt 
with  these  dangers,  and  those  who  have  witnessed 
a  dhikr  with  any  understanding  must  have  seen 
how  completely  the  presiding  shaikh  was  controlling 
all  the  manifestations  and  steadying  the  thoughts 
of  the  worshippers  who  were  taking  part.  Of  course 
this  takes  no  account  of  the  public  and  spectacular 
dhikrs  either  got  up  for  tourists  or  connected,  like 
those  at  the  display  of  the  kiswa  embroideries  in 
Cairo,  with  the  great  formal  ceremonies  of  the 
faith.  These  can  be  utterly  empty  of  religious 

2 1 8     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

content  and  mislead  as  to  the  real  nature  of  what 
they  travesty,  which  is  a  coming  together  of  earnest 
minds  to  worship  Allah  in  spirit  and  in  truth.  Of 
such  I  do  not  speak  here. 

Nor  can  it  be  said  that,  in  spite  of  all  the  care, 
theoretical  and  practical,  of  theologians  and  leaders, 
dhikrs  never  have  evil  consequences.  They  most 
unfortunately  have.  No  one  can  play  with  his 
emotional  life  without  risk  of  acquiring  the  knack 
of  auto-hypnosis;  and,  if  of  a  weaker  nature, 
practising  it  as  a  spiritual  dram-drinking.  The 
risks  are  there  and  are  real,  and  the  consequences 
sometimes  follow.  But,  however  that  may  be,  the 
importance  of  the  dhikr  as  a  vehicle  of  the  religious 
life  cannot  be  exaggerated,  and  it  might  be  well 
for  missionaries  to  consider  to  what  extent  and  in 
what  forms  it  could  be  taken  over  into  Christian 
worship  for  the  use  of  their  converts  or  as  a  means 
of  evangelizing.  That  converts  from  Islam  miss 
its  stimulus  and  suggestion  is  certain,  and  the  sing- 
ing of  hymns — especially  to  western  tunes  and  in 
western  metres — cannot  take  its  place.  This  leads 
naturally  into  a  large  subject,  a  discussion  of  which 
cannot  be  attempted  here.  Briefly  it  is  that  the 
Christian  Church  will  need  to  face  the  problem  of 
the  full  orientalizing  and  arabizing  of  its  language 
and  forms  of  expression.  Far  too  often  these  are 
stamped  by  Moslems  as  un- Arabic,  and  of  necessity 
they  cause  an  initial  repulsion  which  has  to  be 

Seventh  Study — D.  B.  Macdonald       219 

overcome.  Even  the  native  Christian  Arabic  of 
Syria  repels  a  Moslem,  though  he  might  often  find 
it  hard  to  say  against  exactly  what  turn  of  phrase 
his  objection  lies.  But  the  naturalizing  of  the 
dhikr  for  Christian  purposes  is  a  much  wider  matter 
than  any  mere  use  of  words,  and  involves  deeper 
difficulties.  I  would  only  now  most  earnestly 
commend  the  consideration  of  it  to  all  in  any  way 

With  the  dhiJcr  connects  immediately  another 
Moslem  usage.  It  is  the  reciting  of  the  Most 
Beautiful  Names  of  Allah.  This,  also,  has  its  two 
sides,  a  formally  empty  and  a  personally  devout, 
and  at  the  first  of  these,  unfortunately,  most 
observers  of  Islam  stop.  But  the  nourishing  of  the 
religious  life  on  the  contemplation  of  God  is  an 
essential  part  of  all  religions,  and  that  con- 
templation has,  from  the  very  beginnings  of  Islam, 
moved  round  the  names  and  epithets  applied  and 
applicable  to  Allah.  From  the  Sunday  school  books 
and  Bible  helps  of  our  youth — before  it  was  thought 
that  religion  consisted  in  the  higher  criticism — we 
used  to  learn  lists  of  names,  offices  and  epithets  of 
Christ,  as  these  could  be  extracted  from  the  Bible. 
A  similar  method  has  held  in  Islam  from  Mohammed 
himself  down,  and  is  indeed  rooted  in  the  very 
genius  of  the  Arabic  language.  So,  in  the  Koran, 
as  in  the  old  poetry  of  the  desert,  the  rolling 
rhythms  are  rounded  with  sonorous  epithets,  and 

220    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

the  midnight  devotions  of  Mohammed  consisted 
in  describing  Allah  as  this  and  that.1  The  after 
generations  have  followed  in  his  path,  and  from  the 
fixed,  stately  ceremonial  of  the  salat,  through  the 
freer  and  more  spontaneous,  yet  also  governed  and 
restrained,  ejaculations  of  the  dhikr  to  the  daily  and 
hourly  meditations  of  the  pious,  all  the  forms  of 
expression  are  cast  in  this  mould.  Thus  an  immense 
number  of  names  has  been  brought  together,  either 
found  in  the  Koran  or  developed  from  Koranic  ideas, 
and  out  of  these  a  canonical  ninety-nine  have  been 
selected  which  are  called  the  Most  Beautiful  Names 
of  Allah.  These  the  pious  recite  in  a  fixed  order  as 
they  slip  the  ninety-nine  beads  of  the  Moslem  rosary 
through  their  fingers,  though  the  wayfaring  man 
may  content  himself  with  simply  murmuring,  *  Allah, 
Allah,  Allah ! ' 

There  lies  here,  I  am  certain,  a  wide  field  which 
the  judicious  missionary  will  know  how  to  occupy. 
When  some  shaikh,  after  discussion,  says  to  him, 
'  Nay,  brother,  tell  me  some  of  your  Most  Beautiful 
Names  and  I  will  tell  you  some  of  mine,'  he  will  put 
into  such  name-form  some  of  the  spiritual  depths 
of  the  Bible,  and  thus,  without  controversy  or  even 
any  sense  of  strangeness,  lead  his  friend  into  the 

1  It  may  be  pointed  out  that  the  only  basis  on  which  to 
work  out  a  doctrine  of  the  nature  of  Allah,  as  developed  in 
the  Koran,  is  to  be  found  in  these  names.  See  the  article 
*  Allah'  in  the  Leyden  Encyclopaedia  of  Mohammedanism. 

Ssventh  Study — D.  B.  Macdonald      221 

range  of  Christian  ideas.  '  We  say  of  God,'  he  may 
reply,  or  'In  our  Book  stands  written  that  He  is 
this  or  that.'  To  have  a  store  of  such  names  in 
his  memory,  cast  in  impeccable  Arabic,  of  a  rather 
'  high '  type  and  impeccable  not  only  in  form  but 
in  that  indefinable  thing  called  linguistic  atmosphere, 
should  be  the  ambition  of  every  missionary.  It  is 
true  that  some  doctrines  by  no  amount  of  outward 
form  or  atmosphere  can  be  rendered  anything  but 
strange  and  repellent  to  the  Moslem  ;  but  it  is  equally 
certain  that  there  are  many  sides  of  the  religious 
life  where  the  wealth  of  religious  experience  in  the 
Bible  may  vindicate  itself  over  the  poverty  and 
onesidedness  of  the  Koran  and  yet  excite  no  surprise 
and  raise  no  controversy. 

This  distinction  is  illustrated  in  the  other  element 
in  the  religious  life  of  Islam  to  which  I  wish  to  draw 
attention.  By  no  form  nor  atmosphere,  save,  as  we 
shall  see,  that  created  by  the  Divine  Figure  Itself 
and  for  Itself,  can  the  conception  of  Fatherhood  and 
Sonship  between  God  and  man  be  rendered  anything 
but  repellent,  even  blasphemous,  to  a  Moslem.  This 
applies  not  only  to  the  doctrine  of  the  divine  Sonship, 
but  also  to  every  relationship  between  God  and 
man  not  specifically  of  Creator  and  created.  With 
Moslems  there  is  no  such  point  of  contact  as  St. 
Paul  found  in  the  verse  of  the  Greek  poet,  '  For  we 
are  also  his  children.'  Apparently,  Mohammed 
wished  to  deal  with  the  question  of  sonship  root 

222     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

and  branch.  Allah  in  the  Koran  is  never  a  father 
and  men  are  never  His  sons.  And  the  same  holds 
of  the  traditions  from  Mohammed  and  of  all  the 
after  religious  development.  The  Church  of  Allah 
never  consists  of  His  children  and  no  saint  in  his 
ecstasy  ever  heard  himself  addressed  as  'My  son.' 
Men  are  the  slaves  of  Allah,  His  absolute  property  to 
do  with  as  He  wills.  For  while  the  human  owner 
of  a  slave  is  under  certain  legal  restraints  and  has 
certain  legal  duties  towards  him,  such  can  never 
hold  of  Allah.  The  Pauline  example  of  the  potter 
and  the  vessels  is  applied  even  in  the  devotional 
life  of  Islam  with  the  most  unflinching  logic.  It  is 
unfortunate  that  our  translations  too  often  weaken 
this  by  rendering  'abd  not  as  *  slave '  but  '  servant.1 
In  this  they  follow  a  similar  mistranslation  of  eebed 
in  the  Old  Testament  and  are  influenced  by  a  feeling 
of  recoil  from  all  its  implications.  But  the  theology 
of  Islam  does  not  so  recoil  and  no  implications  turn 
its  serene  inhumanity.  The  absoluteness  of  Allah 
over  everything  is  preserved  and  that  absoluteness, 
be  it  noticed,  is  no  creation  of  the  later  dogma- 
ticians,  but  was  fully  developed  in  at  least  one  side 
of  Mohammed's  brain. 

For  precisely  here  lies  the  eternal  paradox  of 
Islam,  a  paradox  which  has  led  to  endless  contro- 
versy in  Islam  within  and  among  those  studying  it 
from  without ;  but  both  sides  of  which  are  absolutely 
true.  Islam  is  a  spiritual  religion  and  knows  the 

Seventh  Study — D.  B.  Macdonald       223 

relation  in  the  spirit  between  God  and  man.  Thus 
devotion  is  possible  for  it,  and  the  dhikr  and  all  the 
experiences  of  the  saint  whose  life  is  hidden  in  God. 
But  Islam  is  also  Calvinism  run  wild,  outdoing  all 
the  vagaries  of  the  most  outrd  Dutch  Confessions. 
And  this  paradox  goes  back  to  Mohammed  himself. 
On  one  side  he  was  a  genuine  saint  with  genuine 
religious  experiences ;  but  on  another  his  theology, 
whence  derived  is  still  one  of  our  puzzles,  was  un- 
compromising as  to  the  absoluteness  of  Allah,  both 
of  His  will  and  power  and  of  His  difference  from 
all  other  beings.  So  all  the  way  down  through 
the  history  of  the  Moslem  Church  and  in  the  lives 
of  individual  Moslems,  we  find  this  ever-renewed 
opposition  between  the  experience  of  the  religious 
life  and  the  systems  derived  from  dogmas.  The 
orthodox  Moslem  had  to  square  them  in  one  way 
or  another  and  commonly  did  so  by  keeping  them 
apart  and  by  urging  and  developing  now  one  and 
now  the  other.  By  his  own  experience  and  the 
record  of  that  of  others,  including  Mohammed 
himself,  he  had  his  real  religion,  and  so  long  as 
that  remained  unsystematized  and  in  the  realm  of 
feeling,  the  fundamental  dogmas  of  his  faith  did 
not  trouble  him.  But  if — either  to  defend  that 
faith  against  unbelievers  without  or  critics  within, 
or  simply  to  state  it  in  definite  form — he  had  to 
bring  the  two  into  contact,  then  the  unyielding 
theological  system  normally  asserted  itself,  and  his 

224     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

religion  became  a  theology  of  the  most  closely 
argued,  invulnerable,  but  also  impossible  type.  To 
bring  the  two  into  a  real  agreement  meant  heresy 
sooner  or  later.  Some  attempted  it  by  dint  of 
metaphysical  speculation  and,  removed  in  these 
clouds  from  common  sight,  span  ontological  and 
cosmological  hypotheses  of  more  or  less  explicit 
and  conscious  pantheism.  Echoes,  too,  from  these 
systems  tended  to  filter  through  even  to  the 
multitude.  In  the  dervish  fraternities  were  and  are 
men  at  all  stages  of  theological  and  philosophical 
growth,  and  so  for  the  unlearned  and  the  half- 
learned  the  too  glaring  contrast  might  be  helped 
by  some  phrase  or  some  fragment  of  an  idea.  And 
always  there  was  the  refuge  of  turning  and  flinging 
themselves  in  adoration  before  the  mystery.  So  the 
life  of  Islam  continued  and  continues  to  be  possible, 
and  at  one  time  the  missionary  will  be  faced  by 
depths  of  devout  quietism  and  at  another  by  a  fully 
armed  monster  of  logic  in  which  he  will  find  it  hard 
to  recognize  any  religion  at  all. 

But  whatever  be  the  form  before  him,  he  will 
discover  one  kind  of  phrase  that  he  can  never  use 
unless  he  would  be  met  by  more  or  less  gentle 
negation.  '  Our  Father  which  art  in  heaven '  and 
'  Like  as  a  father  pitieth  his  children  ' — these  words 
suggest  to  us  the  most  irreducible  minimum  of  a 
religious  attitude.  Men  of  all  faiths,  we  imagine, 
might  join  in  using  them.  But  the  denial  of  them 

Seventh  Study — D.  B.  Macdonald      225 

has  passed  into  Moslem  blood  and  bone,  and  the 
Mohammedan  sees  in  them  indefinite  vistas  of 
controversy.  However  close  he  may  feel  to  Allah 
he  stands  always  in  His  presence  as  an  6abd.  Yet 
it  should  never  be  forgotten  that,  for  an  Oriental, 
behind  the  word  6abd,  6  slave,'  some  approximation 
to  the  idea  of  child  may  lie.  All  depends  upon 
how  it  is  used.  The  Moslem  '  slave '  like  the 
4  slave '  of  the  Old  Testament  is  the  property  of 
his  master;  but  he  is  also  one  of  his  master's 
household,  under  his  master's  care  and  may  even  be 
the  heir  of  all  that  his  master  has.  Thus,  in  the 
devotional  literature  of  Islam,  the  word  is  often 
used  where  we  find  it  hard  or  impossible  to  translate 
it  as  'slave,'  so  different  are,  to  us,  the  ideas  and 
images  which  the  words  raise.  Very  frequently 
6  creature '  comes  much  closer  to  the  burden  of  the 
context,  and  though  theology  may  emphasize  the 
absoluteness  of  the  divine  control,  religion  always 
pleads  the  closeness  of  the  human  relation. 

It  will  thus  be  seen  that  the  idea  before  which 
the  Moslem,  even  in  his  religious  aspirations,  recoils 
is  that  of  generation.  The  article  in  the  creed, 
'  Begotten  not  made,'  however  rendered  in  Arabic — 
and  the  current  rendering  is  one  of  crude  directness 
— must  always  be  the  essential  stumbling-block. 
Whether  it  would  have  been  possible  to  maintain 
the  Christian  verity  while  expressing  the  relation  of 
the  Son  to  the  Father  as  a  Procession  is  probably 

226    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

now  a  useless  speculation;  it  would  certainly  have 
made  the  Christian  position  much  easier  for  the 
Moslem.  To  the  conception  of  an  inner  multi- 
plicity in  the  nature  of  God  Islam  has,  though 
always  finally  rejecting  it,  from  time  to  time 
approximated.  But  while  the  representation  of  the 
coming  into  being  of  such  a  multiplicity  by  an 
eternal  '  procession '  (sudur)  has  been  rejected  by 
Islam  as  only  heretical,  any  connexion  of  such  a 
multiplicity  with  fatherhood  has  never  been  con- 
ceived of  in  any  but  the  simplest  physical  fashion 
and  has,  consequently,  been  viewed  with  horror. 
To  some  aspects  of  this  I  will  return. 

What  has  now  been  said  brings  us,  then,  back  to 
the  question  which  must  ever  be  primary,  How  can 
Christ  be  best  preached  to  Moslems  ?  We  have  to 
take  them  as  we  find  them — even  as  Paul  took  the 
Athenians — and  present  the  body  of  Christian  truth 
so  as  to  meet  and  complete  their  strivings.  There 
are  certain  vital  forces  working  in  Islam ;  there  is 
a  great  vital  force  working  in  Christendom.  How 
can  we  bring  that  force — which  is  Christ — to  bear 
on  those  forces  which  are  the  workings  and  yearnings 
of  the  human  spirit  fostered  and  guided,  as  we  must 
believe,  by  that  Divine  Spirit  which  has  never  left 
itself  without  a  witness  within  us  ?  These  strivings 
within  Islam  have  been  variously  coloured,  biassed 
and  stunted  by  Islam  itself  with  its  strange  inherit- 
ance from  we  know  not  what  Christian  heresy. 

Seventh  Study — D.  B.  Macdonald      227 

And  it  is  there,  in  these  imposed  modifications,  that 
the  taking  of  Moslems  as  we  find  them  enters. 
What  do  they,  as  Moslems,  think  of  Christ  ?  How 
far  are  they  on  the  road  towards  Him  ?  How  does 
the  thought  of  Him,  if  at  all,  already  affect  them  ? 
To  that  I  wish  now  to  turn. 

So  far  as  these  questions  are  theological,  the 
answer  to  them  is  easy ;  so  far  as  they  are  religious,  it 
is  very  difficult.  The  Moslem  doctrine  of  the  nature 
of  Christ  can  be  put  in  half  a  dozen  sentences. 
He  is  a  semi-angelic  semi-human  being,  but  of 
sinless  flesh  and  nature ;  a  new  creation  by  Allah 
springing  from  Allah's  direct  creative  word  as  did 
Adam  and  hence  called  a  Word  from  Allah,  and 
even  the  Word  of  Allah.  But  He  is  also  specifically 
called  an  6aM9  a  creature.  His  mother  was  also 
conceived  without  sin  in  order  that  even  on  the 
human  side  He  might  have  no  taint  of  inheritance. 
He  is  called  a  Spirit  from  Allah  and  even  the  Spirit 
of  Allah,  just  as  are  the  angels.  His  life  on  earth 
was  surrounded  with  miracle  and  in  His  birth-body 
Allah  took  Him  to  one  of  the  heavens  where  He 
now  is  and  whence  He  shall  come  to  rule  the  world 
in  the  last  days.  But  the  eternal  Sonship  is  rejected 
with  the  death  on  the  cross,  the  resurrection  and 
rule  at  God's  right  hand.  Nor  does  He  return  to 
judge  the  quick  and  the  dead.  In  fact,  the  Islamic 
doctrine  leaves  us  questioning  why  this  semi-angelic 
being  came  to  earth  at  all.  Some  positive  element 

228    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

must  have  been  dropped  by  Mohammed  from  the 
system  which  was  taught  to  him.  Jesus  in  it  was 
evidently  a  second  Adam,  but  His  theological  re- 
lationship to  the  first  has  vanished.  He  must  have 
been  sent  for  a  purpose;  that,  too,  has  vanished. 
The  missionary  might  ask  some  arousing  questions 
on  these  points.  He  might  ask,  too,  what  was 
involved  in  His  being  a  special  manifestation  in 
time  of  the  eternal  Word  of  Allah.  It  may  be 
answered  that  all  things  are  products  of  Allah's 
creative  Word.  But  in  the  case  of  Jesus  stress  is 
laid  upon  a  certain  uniqueness — what  was  it  ?  Up 
to  a  certain  point  Islamic  doctrine  leads  straight  to 
a  Logos  conception  of  the  nature  of  Christ ;  but  at 
that  point  it  stops  sharply. 

Yet  the  Logos  idea  has  found  an  entrance  into 
Islamic  theology,  and  that  in  two  forms.  The 
doctrine  concerning  the  Koran  is  that  it  represents 
upon  earth  the  Word  or  Speech  (Kaldm)  which  has 
been  with  Allah  from  all  eternity,  by  which  He 
made  the  worlds.  This,  it  may  be  said  roughly,  is 
our  Nicene  form  of  the  Logos  doctrine.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  Arian  form  appears  in  the  doctrine 
of  the  person  of  Mohammed.  He  is  the  first  of  all 
created  beings,  and  for  his  sake  the  worlds  were 
created.  Both  of  these  ideas  are  exceedingly  vital 
forces  in  Islam  to-day  and  show  the  craving  of  the 
human  mind  for  some  such  mediating  conception — 
some  link  between  God  and  man.  Thus  reformers 

Seventh  Study — D.  B.  Macdonald      229 

in  Islam  now  tend  to  rally  to  one  or  other  of  two 
cries :  either,  '  Back  to  the  Koran  ! '  or  '  Back  to 
Mohammed ! ' 

Urging  to  the  first  cry  are  many  forces.  For  all 
Arabic  speakers,  the  Koran  is  peculiarly  their  book. 
It  is  the  supreme  flowering  of  the  genius  of  the 
language.  No  criticism  of  it  by  an  outsider  is  ever 
heard  with  patience.  And,  in  truth,  there  are  in 
it,  here  and  there,  passages  of  haunting  music. 
Mohammed,  it  should  never  be  forgotten,  was  a 
poet  of  the  primitive,  incoherent,  ecstatic  type 
before  he  was  a  prophet.  So  its  cadences  still 
intoxicate  and  endless  repetitions  have  not  staled 
its  melodies.  In  the  ears  of  the  Moslem,  schooled 
in  them  from  infancy,  they  constantly  ring,  and  the 
book  witnesses  to  itself  of  its  uniqueness.  And 
when  to  this  is  added  that  it  is  a  divine  book ;  that 
in  it  Allah  speaks  to  man  as  with  His  own  speech, 
a  Quality  of  His  from  all  eternity — the  theological 
statements  of  this  vary  but  such  is  their  substance 
— then  that  the  Koran  should  be  a  rallying  point 
for  all  Moslems  is  easily  intelligible.  The  life  of 
Mohammed,  the  bearer,  may  be  smirched;  but 
the  divine  Word  abides  untouchable.  Patriotism, 
beauty,  habit,  faith,  all  unite  to  protect  it.  In 
face  of  this — a  most  vital  fact  with  all,  especially 
with  educated  Moslems — I  can  only  repeat  what  I 
have  said  above,  that  a  heavy  burden  of  duty  lies 
on  all  concerned  to  see  that  the  Christian  message 

2  3°    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

is  clad  in  a  garb  that  will  do  it  no  discredit ;  that 
the  supreme  magic  for  the  Arabic-speaking  peoples 
— and  by  their  proverb  a  lawful  magic — the  magic 
of  language,  is  not  disregarded. 

But  to  the  more  emotional  and  less  educated 
Moslems,  especially  to  those  who,  born  in  non- 
Arabic  lands,  cannot  so  intoxicate  themselves  on 
the  rhythms  of  the  book  of  the  Arabs,  the  more 
human  interest  of  the  figure  of  Mohammed  himself 
appeals.  And  so  it  has  come  about  that  he  is  often 
practically  deified,  however  contrary  to  exact  Islam 
and  to  the  Prophet's  own  declarations  such  an 
apotheosis  may  be.  It  is  a  question  of  tempera- 
ment and  environment,  and  the  missionary  need 
not  be  surprised  at  any  form  he  may  meet  and 
must  not  think  that  the  doctrine  of  his  district  is 
universal  Islam.  We  have  had  our  time  of 
bibliolatry,  and  we  have  now,  apparently,  a  time 
of  speaking  of  Jesus  and  addressing  Him  in  prayer 
as  though  He  were  the  only  person  in  the  Godhead. 
These  Moslem  vagaries  should  lead  us  to  be  only 
the  more  careful  as  to  the  forms  of  our  theological 
statements.  We  sometimes  think  we  can  get  along 
without  a  theology  and  upon  religious  experience 
alone.  Theology  thus  cast  out  avenges  itself  by 
coming  back  in  perverted  forms. 

But  I  return  to  the  second  and  more  difficult  side 
of  my  question  on  the  Moslem  attitude  towards 
Christ.  What  place  does  He  hold  religiously 

Seventh  Study — D.  B.  Macdonald      231 

among  them  ?  What  part  does  He  play  in  their 
lives?  Is  He  in  any  respect  a  vital  force  there? 
I  fear  the  answer  must  be  that,  for  the  great  mass 
of  Moslems,  He  is  not.  On  that  side  there  is  little 
or  nothing  from  which  to  begin.  He  does  not  even 
seem  to  have  struck  the  popular  imagination  as  has 
the  mysterious  al  Khizr.  He  is  theologically  a 
similarly  mysterious  figure  among  the  prophets,  and 
if  actual  physical  meetings  with  Him  in  this  middle 
earth  cannot  be  looked  for  by  Moslems,  as  they  look 
to  meet  al  Khizr,  visions  of  Him  in  dream  might 
be  expected.  Yet  the  evidence  is  that  these  occur 
very  rarely  and  almost  only  among  dervishes  and 
under  peculiar  and  predisposing  circumstances.  It 
is  true  that  there  are  certain  stock  anecdotes  about 
Him  current  in  theological  books  of  edification. 
In  these  His  unearthly,  angelic  nature  appears. 
He  possesses  peculiarly  the  power  of  raising  the 
dead.  His  words  are  of  strange  wisdom  and  His 
conduct  is  sinless,  or  rather,  His  life  moves  in  a 
sphere  in  its  nature  apart  from  that  of  men.  Gener- 
ally, it  may  be  said  that  Islam,  while  acknowledging 
theologically  His  rank  and  treating  Him  at  all 
times  with  great  respect,  does  not  seem  in  its 
religious  or  worldly  need  to  turn  towards  Him. 
Under  such  stress  it  seeks  its  local  saints  or  al 
Khizr  or  Mohammed  himself,  while  ShPites,  of 
course,  turn  to  the  Imams.  In  the  Last  Days  he 
will  play  a  large  but  undefined  part  with  which  the 

232     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

religious  Moslem  does  not  greatly  trouble  himself 
unless  he  aspires  to  be  the  Mahdi.  Then  he  must 
determine  what  role  falls  to  him  and  what  to  'Isa. 

Yet  in  this,  as  in  all  phases  of  religion  as  opposed 
to  theology,  and  especially  in  the  religion  of  the 
masses,  it  is  necessary  to  speak  with  caution.  In 
Lady  Burton's  time  at  Damascus  there  arose  among 
the  Shadhilite  dervishes  a  strange  movement  pro- 
duced by  visions  of  Jesus.  Further,  the  broader 
minded  generally  have  shown  a  tendency  to  play 
Him  off  against  Mohammed,  by  way  of  vindicating 
the  universality  of  religion  and  the  common  value 
of  all  religions.  This  has  occurred  more  among 
Turks  and  Persians  and  everywhere  only  among 
advanced  mystics.  It  is  possible  also  that  in 
certain  localities  more  closely  connected  with  His 
earthly  life  such  religious  influence  may  be  found. 
But  I  know  of  no  evidence  to  that  purport.  Tales 
are,  of  course,  told  to  tourists,  notably  that  He 
and  Mohammed  will  judge  together  at  the  Last 
Day,  one  on  the  one  side  and  the  other  on  the 
other  of  the  valley  of  Kidron ;  but  these  seem  to 
be  fictions  of  dragomans,  and  are  at  best  too 
completely  in  the  teeth  of  all  sound  doctrine  to 
be  at  all  widely  current  among  Moslems.  That, 
on  that  day,  none  shall  judge  save  Allah  Himself 
is  a  fundamental  article  of  the  faith. 

On  another  conception,  to  which  attention  has 
already  been  drawn  in  more  than  one  of  the 

Seventh  Study — D.  B.  Macdonald      233 

preceding  papers,  I  would  wish  to  lay  emphasis. 
There  can  be  no  question  that  there  has  existed 
and  still  exists,  widespread  among  Moslems,  a 
strong  feeling  of  the  need  of  a  mediator,  an  inter- 
cessor between  men  and  God.  This  has  shown 
itself  in  the  doctrine  which  has  gradually  grown 
up,  apparently  of  necessity,  and  which  is  in  the 
teeth  of  statements  of  Mohammed  himself,  that 
Mohammed  will  intercede  for  his  people  at  the 
Last  Day  and  secure  their  entrance  as  a  whole 
into  paradise.  Only  a  single  wretched  man  will 
be  left  outside  to  satisfy  God^s  justice  and  keep 
the  letter  of  His  threats.  He  is,  as  it  were,  a 
scapegoat,  and  his  fate  is  a  ghastly  parody  on 
some  forms  of  the  Christian  doctrine  of  the  Atone- 
ment. This  is  intercession  on  behalf  of  the  people 
in  general  and,  as  such,  belongs  to  Mohammed 
alone.  No  other  prophet,  even,  has  a  right  to  it, 
and  he  only  by  the  grace  of  Allah.1  But  all 
through  the  religious  life  of  Islam  runs  the  idea 
of  intercession  on  behalf  of  individuals  by  indi- 
viduals who  have  acquired  merit  in  the  eyes  of 
Allah.  This  is  what  lies  behind  and  conditions 
the  so-called  4  worship '  of  saints,  which  is  at  bottom 

1 1  pass  over  the  interesting  word  iuajih)  applied  once  to 
Jesus  in  the  Koran  and  explained  by  some  commentators 
as  meaning  'intercessor  in  the  world  to  come.'  It  is  of 
more  importance  for  Mohammed's  idea  of  Jesus  than  for 
the  position  of  Jesus  in  Islam. 

234     Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

prayer  to  them  for  the  exertion  of  their  personal 
influence  with  Allah.  Among  Shi'ites,  as  has  been 
pointed  out  by  one  writer  above,  this  has  developed 
into  a  doctrine  of  a  virtue  lying  in  the  shed  blood 
of  the  slain  Husain  and  his  family.  There  is  in 
it  a  specific  claim  upon  Allah.  But  this  is  only 
a  special  case,  sharpened  by  Sh?ite  emotion,  of  a 
general  Moslem  attitude  towards  the  sufferings  of 
the  saints.  Theologically,  Islam  would  never  admit 
the  doctrine  of  a  treasury  of  merit ;  for  in  it,  no 
more  than  in  Calvinism,  can  the  human  race  by 
any  possibility  acquire  or  hold  merit  in  the  eyes 
of  God.  But  religiously  the  idea  certainly  appears, 
and  in  the  lives  of  the  saints  we  find  them  again 
and  again  exercising  flat  pressure  upon  Allah.  Of 
course  there  might  be  here  some  fine  distinguishing 
between  the  ideas  of  influence  with  Allah — as  being 
the  Friends  of  Allah  (auliya) — and  rights  over 
Allah,  and  theologians  would  undoubtedly  draw 
such  a  distinction.  But  in  the  attitudes  and  ideas 
of  the  religious  life  it  vanishes. 

To  that  strange  book,  al  Insanctl  kamil,  with  its 
approximations  to  Christian  positions,  allusion  has 
also  been  made  in  a  preceding  paper,  and  it 
would  be  well  if  the  book  could  have  a  more 
careful  study  than  has  yet  fallen  to  it.  But  such 
phenomena  keep  appearing  and  disappearing  in 
the  multiform  and  almost  inchoate  mass  of  Sufi 
ideas.  The  human  soul,  when  unbiassed  by  systems 

Seventh  Study — D.  B.  Macdonald      235 

and  prejudices,  is  naturally  Christian,  and  such 
freedom  has  been  the  mark  of  Sufiism  at  all  times. 
An  outstanding  example  which  all  missionaries 
should  study  most  carefully  is  given  by  the  case 
of  al  Hallaj.  The  book  upon  him  by  M.  Louis 
Massignon  marks  an  epoch  in  our  understanding 
of  earlier  Moslem  mysticism. 

We  come  back,  then,  again  to  our  question.  All 
things  being  so,  how  can  Christ  be  best  preached 
to  Moslems?  Almost  one  is  impelled  to  answer, 
Do  not  preach  Him ;  let  Him  Himself  do  His  own 
work.  If  ever,  it  is  face  to  face  with  Islam  that 
the  preaching  of  man  is  foolishness.  The  path  to 
any  formal  presentation  of  Christian  doctrine  is 
sown  with  misunderstanding  and  prejudice.  Yet 
the  figure  of  Christ,  simply  presented  as  He  lived 
and  spoke,  seems  to  overcome  these.  An  experience 
which  all,  probably,  who  have  worked  among 
Moslems  have  had,  abundantly  proves  this.  I 
have  spoken  above  of  the  Moslem  horror  before  the 
idea  of  the  divine  paternity.  But  it  is  peculiarly 
in  the  Johannine  writings  that  this  '  begotten '  aspect 
of  the  Son  is  emphasized.  Without  these  that  word 
and  its  circle  of  ideas  would  probably  have  played 
a  much  smaller  part  in  the  development  of  Christian 
doctrine.  And  yet — and  to  this  I  think  all  mission- 
aries will  bear  witness — it  is  precisely  the  Gospel 
according  to  John  which  attracts  and  holds  the 
Moslem  who  has  become  a  seeker  for  something 

236    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

which  his  own  religion  cannot  give  him.  It  is 
true  that  such  men  are  all  mystics  and  that  the 
mysticism  of  the  book  appeals  to  them.  But  it  is  the 
mystical  atmosphere  of  the  great  Figure  itself  which 
overcomes  and  makes  possible  the  words  that  are  used. 
And  even  this  very  difficulty  may  be  turned  to 
account.  In  Philippians  ii.  7,  we  read  that  He 
took  the  form  of  a  slave,  fiouXog — an  6abd,  a 
'creature';  it  is  exactly  the  Koranic  word  for 
Jesus.  Can  we,  then,  with  Moslems  begin  at 
that  point  ?  Can  we  develop  all  that  lies  in  that 
word  fiovXog  and  recognize  all  that  a  Moslem 
thinks  when  he  uses  the  word  6abd  ?  A  multitude 
of  the  most  essential  and  germinative  conceptions 
of  Christianity  connect  with  that  aspect  of  Jesus, 
and  they  are  those  which  Islam  peculiarly  needs. 
I  do  not  develop  them  here.  That  has  been  done 
already  in  more  than  one  of  the  preceding  papers. 
Then,  when  that  Figure  in  its  human  life  of 
service  and  submission  has  once  been  brought 
clearly  into  view  and  stands  up  concrete  and  real 
with  its  testimony,  its  individual  summons  and 
its  promise,  its  mysterious  background  of  relation- 
ship to  the  Divine  in  time  and  in  eternity  will 
far  more  easily  follow.  All  the  Logos  ideas  of 
Islam  can  be  related  to  it  and  thereby  carried  to 
their  true  measure  and  end.  The  Moslem  will 
pass  beyond  that  strange  check  which  the  Koran 
imposes,  and  will  be  able  to  connect  with  Christ 

Seventh  Study — D.  B.  Macdonald       237 

those  other  stunted  growths  from  the  same  stock 
which  Islam  has  related  to  the  Koran  and  to 
Mohammed.  One  forward  step,  especially,  must 
be  made.  In  dealing  with  the  Speech  or  Word 
(Kalam)  of  Allah  Islam  has  limited  itself  very 
carefully  to  one  side  only  of  the  Logos  con- 
ception. Its  divine  Logos  is  always  oratio  and 
no  conception  of  ratio  is  allowed  to  enter.  This 
is  very  marked  and  appears  to  spring  from  another 
conception  fundamental  to  Islam,  that  Allah  must 
be  left  a  pure,  unlimited  Will — unlimited  even 
by  any  process  of  reason  in  Himself.  That  would 
subordinate  Allah  to  something  else  and  make  His 
attitudes  and  acts  less  immediate  and  uncaused. 
Just  as  right  and  wrong  depend  upon  His  will, 
so  He  must  be  free  also  from  the  laws  of  thought. 
I  do  not  remember  ever  having  met  with  a  precise 
statement  of  this;  but  it  is  involved  in  the  care 
with  which  reason  (6aql)  is  kept  out  of  all  defini- 
tions and  descriptions  of  Allah.  But  this,  be  it 
always  remembered,  is  theology,  and  the  religious 
life  of  experience,  on  the  other  hand,  has  to 
think  and  speak  of  Allah  in  terms  of  the  aspects 
under  which  it  has  known  Him.  It  should  not, 
therefore,  be  difficult,  at  the  cost  of  whatever 
metaphysical  confusion,  to  reintroduce  thought 
into  the  Moslem  conception  of  the  Divinity  and 
so  far  break  up  that  impossible  Unity.  The 
Word  of  Allah  will  cease  to  be  a  simple  objectified 

238    Vital  Forces  of  Christianity  and  Islam 

command  (amr),  like  the  Jewish  Memra,  and  will 
again,  like  the  older  Hebrew  Khokmah^  be  that 
Wisdom  in  which  and  by  which  God  does  all 

I  am  very  conscious  that  in  what  I  have  now 
said  there  is  more  of  theology  and  less  of  vital 
experience  than  the  title  of  this  series  of  articles 
would  seem  to  demand.  Yet  that  has  sprung 
from  the  very  nature  of  the  case.  I  am  a  student 
of  Moslem  theology ;  but  only  an  onlooker  upon 
Moslem  life.  Lest  any,  however,  should  mistake 
my  attitude  in  the  broad  matter,  let  me  now 
finally  state  some  practical  propositions  which 
seem  to  me  essential.  I  trust  that  missionaries 
will  forgive  an  outsider  if  he  casts  these,  for 
directness,  in  imperative  form. 

(1)  As  much  as   is  in   any  way  possible  let  the 
Bible,  and   especially  the   figure  of  Christ  in  the 
gospels,  speak  for  themselves. 

(2)  As   much    as  is   in   any  way   possible  avoid 
controversy,   however    friendly.     Turn    it   with   an 
answer  which  will   show   that   Christianity  too  has 
beneath  it  a  reasoned  metaphysical  system. 

(3)  As  much  as  is  in  any  way  possible  cultivate 
religious    conversation   with    Moslems   and   try   to 
understand  their    religious    life.     The    reading   of 
their   devotional   and  mystical   books   will   greatly 
help  in  this. 

(4)  As   much   as   is   in   any  way   possible  study 

Seventh  Study — D.  B.  Macdonald      239 

the  theological  system  of  Islam  in  the  treatises  of 
its  theologians. 

(5)  Be  thus  prepared,  when  the  genuine  inquirer 
who   has   been   attracted   by  Christ   and   has  read 
the   Bible    brings    forward    theological   difficulties, 
to  understand  these  and  his  mind  in  general  and 
to    enter    most    fully   into    theological    subtleties. 
To   us  they   may  seem  unreal ;    to   him,   with  his 
training,  they  are  vital. 

(6)  Never   be   surprised   at  the  doctrine   or   the 
aspect  of  Christianity  which  seems  most  to  appeal 
to  any  individual  Moslem.     He  must  begin  where 
he    can.     Avoid,   therefore,   fixed    '  easy   methods.' 
I  knew  one  man  who  became  a  sincere  Christian 
with  a  real  grasp  of  Christian  doctrine  and  who 
began    by    being    impressed    with    the    historical 
continuity   of   the    books   of    Samuel    and   Kings. 
Above  all,   do   not   think    that  there   must  be   a 
theological  sense  of  sin.     Many  Moslems  find  rest 
in   Christ   as   a   solution   of  the   problems   of  the 
world  and  of  the  mystery  of  the  universe.     Their 
Christ  is  cosmic,  but  none  the  less  real. 


Ablutions,  28,  87,  169. 

Al  Bukhari,  18,  182. 

Al  Ghazzali,  21. 

Ali  Ilahls,  52. 

Allah  a  vital  reality  to 
Moslems,  17-8,  49-51, 
128-9,  163-4,  196-7  ;  not 
the  Christian  God,  but 
an  honest  attempt  to  re- 
present Him,  32-4 ;  no 
dissatisfaction  felt  with 
Moslem  conception  of, 
22-3  (but  see  also  200-1)  ; 
demoralizing  influence  of 
belief  in  His  easy-going 
mercifulness,  50.  See  also 

Approach  to  Moslems, 
methods  of,  25-7,  38-40, 
65-7,  94-6,  140-2,  143-6, 
176-80,  203-4,  206.  See 
also  Points  of  Contact, 
Christ,  presentation  of,  to 

Ascension,  36,  181,  183, 

Atonement,  38,  40,  58-9,  72, 
183-5,  233. 

Bahaism,   51-2,   57,   62,  63, 


Bible.     See  Scriptures. 
Brotherhood,  sense  of,  a  vital 

element  in  Islam,  20,  133- 

5,  165-6,  197. 

Ceremonial,  28,  86-7,  90-2, 
93,  II3-4,  169-70. 

Character,  emphasis  on,  in 
appeal  to  Moslems,  141-2. 

Christ,  necessity  of  empha- 
sizing elements  of  strength 
in  character  of,  34-5, 40-1  ; 
attractive  power  of  His 
character,  34-5,  66-7,  95, 
204,  235-6 ;  attitude  of 
Moslems  towards,  26, 32-7, 
72,  109-10,  182-3,  207-8, 
226-9,  230-2  ;  divine  Son- 
ship  of,  26,  32,  60,  70,  96, 
7,  235  ;  death  of,  26,  41, 
6 1-3,  95,  103,  105-6,  114, 
207,  211,  227 ;  presentation 
of,  to  Moslems,  9-10, 68-9, 
94-6,  152-3,  226  ff.,  235. 
See  also  Approach  to  Mos- 
lems, Points  of  Contact. 

Christianity,  defects  of  west- 
ern, 27,  60,  107,  148  ;  in- 
stinctive antipathy  to, 
among  Moslems,  25-6,  59, 
96,  143,  207-8,  224-5; 
ethical  freedom  of,  an 
attraction  to  Moslems,  36, 
66,  179 ;  light  shed  by 
Islam  on,  38-43, 73-5, 113- 
22,  152-5,  187-91,  210-2. 

Controversy,  use  of,  147, 205- 
6,  238 ;  impossibility  of 
avoiding,  104,  109-13. 


General  Index 

Co-operation  between  Chris- 
tians and  Moslems,  call 
to,  153-5- 

Cross,  the.  See  Christ,  death 

Dhikr^  religious  significance 
of,  for  Moslems,  21,  36,  53, 
132-3,  216-20. 

Eschatology.  See  Future  Life. 

Family,     attractiveness     of 

Christian,  37,  41-3,  64,  98- 

9,  1 88,  200,  205. 
Fasting,  51,  56,    57,  87,  90, 

105,  131-2,  169,  198. 
Fatalism,  7,  50,  72, 87-8,  201, 

Force,  emphasis  on,  in  Islam, 

34,  40-1. 
Freedom  of  Christianity,  19, 

36-7,  66,   74-5,   114,   117, 

Future    Life,     84-5,    89-90, 

1 10-3,  118-9. 

God,  unity  of,  29-30,  38-9,  71, 
82-3,  119-21,  163-4,  1 8 1, 
207,  237-8 ;  necessity  of 
emphasizing  holiness  and 
love,  22-3,  40,  140-2 ;  re- 
lation between  Christian 
and  Moslem  conception  of, 
32-3,  70-2,  106-7,  1 1 6-7, 
140-2, 221-2, 224-6  ;  great- 
ness of,  128  ;  as  Judge,  93, 
128,  1 8 1-6,  233.  See  also 

Hostility  of  Christendom  to 
Moslem  interests,  148-50. 

Imamat,  influence  of,  among 
Shi'ite  Moslems,  51-3,  58- 


Immortality.  See  Future  Life. 

Inspiration,  33,  61-3,  202. 
See  also  Revelation. 

Islam,  dissatisfaction  with, 
among  Moslems,  7-8, 22-5, 
55-9,  88-9,  169-76,  199- 
203 ;  is  evangelization  of 
Islam  worth  while,  13- 
14 ;  real  vitality  of,  8- 
9,  126-7,  162-3 ;  all  ele- 
ments not  equally  vital, 
16-17 ;  legalism  of  (see 
Legalism) ;  Semitic  ele- 
ments in,  161-5  ;  intoler- 
ance of,  effect  on  Persian 
character,  63-4 ;  its  pro- 
paganda among  pagan 
peoples,  80  ff.  ;  eternal 
paradox  of,  222-4. 

Kerbala,  51,  54,  57,  58. 

Koran,  effect  of  criticism 
upon,  24,  136,  202  ;  pre- 
existence  of,  30-1,  41,  228- 
30  ;  reciting  of,  21-2,  135- 
6,  164-5,  219-20;  attract- 
iveness to  pagan  of  its 
claim  to  be  the  revelation 
of  God,  83-4 ;  use  of,  in 
controversy,  106-9. 

Legalism  of  Islam,  a  cause 
of  dissatisfaction,  24-5,  36, 
56-7, 73-5, 170-2  J  a  domi- 
nant force  in  Islam,  51. 

Logos,  doctrine  of,  in  Islam, 
30-1,41, 186,227-30,236-8. 

Love,  26,  37,  64-5,  96-9,  140- 
i,  177-8. 

Magic,  54-5,  83,  92,  94-5, 
99-100,  103,  114,  115-7, 


Marriage,    98,     101,    172-5. 

See  also  Family. 
Maulid  services,  136-9. 
Mecca,  pilgrimage  to,  83,  88, 

91,97,  114,  134. 

General  Index 


Merit,  conception  of,  a  uni- 
versal force  in  Islam,  51, 
105,  164,  234. 

Miracle,  62,  181,  227  ;  94-5, 
116-7,  178-9,  206. 

Missions,  Moslem  estimate 
of,  26,  37,  64,  96-7,  139-40, 

Mohammed,  personal  devo- 
tion of  Moslems  to,  18-19, 
129,  136-9,  146-8,  167-9, 
23°  j  growing  dissatisfac- 
tion with  character  of,  23  ; 
contrast  between  Christ 
and,  35,  66-7,  72,  106,  170. 

Mullas,  dissatisfaction  with, 
56.  See  also  Priesthood. 

Mysticism,  18,  22,  25,  39-40, 
57-9,73,85-6,  1 10,  115-6, 
167-9,  170,  I79i  185,  236. 

Names  of  Allah,  219-21. 

Pan-Islamism,  134-5. 

Paradise.     See  Future  Life. 

Perfect  Man,  doctrine  of,  in 
Islam,  185-7,  189-91. 

Personal  authority,  influence 
of,  in  Islam,  53-4,  73-5. 

Pilgrimage.     See  Mecca. 

Points  of  contact  between 
Christianity  and  Islam, 
29-32,36,70-2,73-4,  150- 
2,  153-5,  181-7,  206. 

Polygamy,  24,  64,  98,  172-6, 

Prayer,  place  of,  in  Moslem 
life,  129-33,  1 8 8,  216-9  ; 
formal  prayers  (salaf)  less 
significant  than  the  dhikr, 
20-1 ;  attractiveness  of 
Christian  prayer  to  Mos- 
lems, 36-7,  178. 

Priesthood,  power  of,  87,  88- 
9,  93.  See  also  Mullas. 

Rationalism  of  Islam,  164. 
Revelation,  29,  72-3,  84,  175- 
6.     See  also  Inspiration. 

Scriptures,  attractive  power 

of  Christian,  94,  176-7,  206, 

Sin,  the  sense  of,  22,  63,  96, 

105,  107,  167,  168,  181-5. 
Social  aspiration  and  reform 

among  Moslems,  24,  56-7, 

151,  171-6. 
Spirit  of  Jesus,  43. 
Sufiism,  25,  39-40,  57,  167-8, 

170,  185-6,  234-5. 

Traditions,  source  of  idealiza- 
tion of  Mohammed,  18-19  ; 
effect  of  European  criti- 
cism upon,  23. 

Trinity,  doctrine  of,  61,  69- 
70,  102-3,  143-4,  189-91, 
207.  See  also  30,  38-9, 121. 

Wahhabis,  167. 

Wine,  use  of,  28-9,  208. 

Women,  dissatisfaction  with 
position  of,  24-5  ;  attrac- 
tiveness of  Christian  atti- 
tude to,  37,  179-80  ;  funda- 
mental difference  between 
Moslem  and  Christian 
attitude  to,  42-3. 

Word.     See  Logos. 

Writers  of  these  studies, 
notes  on,  4-6 ;  outlook 
conditioned  by  their  per- 
sonal experience,  16,  47-8, 
79-80,  125-6,  159-61,  195- 
6,  209,  215-16. 

Zikr.    See  Dhikr. 


(See  pp.  3  and  4) 

INTRODUCTORY— How  to  study  Islam,  8-9;  system  not 
all  of  equal  religious  significance,  16-17  ;  danger  of 
universal  statements,  tendencies  more  significant  than 
expressed  opinions,  49,  230 ;  religious  forces  not  ex- 
clusively Islamic — part  animistic,  part  Christian,  54-5, 
138,  226  ;  indebted  also  to  Judaism,  161. 


DEVOTIONAL — Spiritual  life 
in  Islam,  sources  of,  20-1  ; 
religious  nature  called  into 
activity,  127,  129-30;  the 
dhikr  as  channel  for  re- 
ligious energy,  21,  132  ; 
effect  on  religious  con- 
sciousness, 217-8  ;  psycho- 
logical impression  pro- 
duced by  acted  and  spoken 
prayer,  130-1  ;  religious 
practices  connect  this  life 
with  the  next,  198-9 ; 
mysticism  or  Sufiism,  21, 
167-9  5  relation  to  murid 
and  mujtahidy  53-4 ;  con- 
stant opposition  between 
experience  of  religious  life 
and  systems  derived  from 
dogmas,  223-4. 

DOCTRINAL— The  existence 
and  unity  of  God,  a  real 
sense  of,  163,  196  ;  who  is 

a  personal  force,  in  relation 
to  the  world  and  to  man, 
17-18,  222-3  5  God  present 
in  some  person  (Imamat), 
51-2;  His  transcendence 
and  sovereignty,  199  ;  reci- 
tation of  the  Most  Beauti- 
ful Names  of  Allah,  219  ; 
Islam  vital  because  it  is  a 
religion,  126 ;  main  re- 
ligious ideas  simple,  128  ; 
brevity  and  simplicity  of 
creed,  57. 

KORAN — Importance  of,  as 
supplying  a  Logos  doctrine, 
228 ;  aesthetic  value  of 
chanting  of  Koran,  21  ; 
effect  of,  irrespective  of  its 
meaning,  1 64-5;  associated 
with  all  Moslem  education, 
197 ;  its  effect  on  con- 
science, 135-6 ;  new  ethical 
significance  in  its  study, 

Index  to  Six  Main  Topics 


136 ;  importance  of  a 
*  Book '  from  propagandist 
point  of  view,  84. 

MOHAMMED— Personal  atti- 
tude to,  1 8  ;  fostered  by 
Traditions,  19 ;  his  in- 
fluence and  personality, 
147  ;  progressive  idealiza- 
tion of  Prophet  expressed  in 
maulid,  136-8  ;  practically 
deified,  230 ;  vital  con- 
ception of  divinely  revealed 
bond  between  God,  the 
Prophet,  and  his  followers, 
129  ;  Mohammed  as  inter- 
cessor, 233 ;  practically 
equivalent  to  Logos,  228-9. 

pagans  reveals  vital  forces, 
80 ;  social  and  political 
factors  advance  Islam,  80- 
i  ;  but  religious  content 
is  main  attraction,  81-2; 
unity  of  Allah  attracts 
pagans,  as  contrasted  with 
polydaemonism,  82-3,  89 ; 
power  of  Allah,  as  demon- 
strated by  economic,  social, 
and  intellectual  superiority 
of  Moslems,  attractive  to 

pagans,  83  ;  superiority  of 
Moslem  to  pagan  magic, 
83,192  ;  possession  of  divine 
revelation  in  writing  as 
compared  with  pagan  oral 
tradition,  84  ;  a  promised 
Paradise  contrasted  with 
uncertainties  of  pagan 
beliefs,  84-5,  89-90;  in- 
fluence of  wandering 
teachers,  85. 

Brotherhood  and  equality, 
idea  of,  20,  133,  165  ;  pan- 
Islamic  movements  not 
source  or  product  of  re- 
ligious class  consciousness, 
134-5  ;  corporate  sense 
among  Moslems,  religious 
and  political,  197  ;  pride  in 
history  and  universality  of 
Islam,  20  ;  legalistic  merit 
resulting  from  religious 
acts,  5 1 ;  fast  month  main- 
tains control  of  religion 
over  nature,  132  ;  but  un- 
satisfactory motives  under- 
lie religious  observances, 



GENERAL  —  Evidences  of 
decay  in  Islam,  7-8  ;  dis- 
satisfaction 'the  rare  ex- 
ception,' 203  ;  traceable  in 
(a)  express  statements  of 
individuals,  (ti)  attempts 
made  to  supply  deficiencies 
in  Islam,  55-6  ;  sects  and 
cults  an  expression  of  dis- 
satisfaction, 57-9 ;  dissatis- 

faction created  by  contact 
with  Christianity,  88  ;  yet 
seldom  drives  to  accept- 
ance of  Gospel,  94  (but  see 

DOCTRINAL  —  Doctrine  of 
Allah,  or  relation  of  soul 
to  Him,  not  touched  with 
dissatisfaction,  22  ;  but 
doubt  felt  as  to  reality  of  a 


Index  to  Six  Main  Topics 

divine  forgiveness  divorced 
from  moral  considerations, 
200-1  ;  fatalism,  201. 

KORAN  —  A  faint  note  of 
dissatisfaction  with,  24 ; 
touched  by  criticism  in 
India,  24 ;  its  scientific 
statements  indefensible,  in 
view  of  theory  of  inspira- 
tion, 202. 

LEGALISTIC  —  Requirements 
of  Moslem  law,  minute 
and  vexatious,  56;  Baha- 
ism  expression  of  this 
dissatisfaction,  57 ;  cer- 
tain school  of  educated 
Moslems  dissatisfied  with 
compulsory  fasting,  stated 
prayers,  ablutions,  169 ; 
Arabic  prayer  in  non- 
Arabic  speaking  countries, 
169-70 ;  Sufi  or  mystic 
movement  is  a  protest 
against  enslavement  by 
Moslem  ordinances,  25, 

MOHAMMED— His  acts,  all 
lawful,  but  condemned  if 

dissociated  from  him, 

POLITICAL  —  Retrogressive 
political  tendencies,  170- 
2  ;  in  Persia,  Islam  some- 
times regarded  as  religion 
imposed  by  conquerors, 

SOCIAL — Social  system  fixed 
by  revelation,  24-5  ;  mod- 
ern educated  Moslem  dis- 
satisfied, 150,  172-6;  edu- 
cation of  woman  and  girls, 
151  ;  position  of  woman, 
veil,  concubinage,  divorce, 
whole  relation  of  the  sexes, 
24-5,  172-6,  200;  poly- 
gamy a  burning  question 
in  India,  173  ;  slavery,  199  ; 
impositions  practised  at 
Mecca,  89  ;  harshness  and 
covetousness  of  Moslem 
teachers,  88-9  (but  see  92- 
3) ;  the  use  of  compulsion 
to  gain  converts,  201  ; 
dissatisfaction  with  social 
system  cause  of  conversion 
to  Christianity,  176. 


THE  —  Christ  Himself 
appeals,  9,  67  ;  until  His 
claim  to  supersede  Moham- 
med is  realized,  96;  His 
character,  34-5  ;  the  Ful- 
filler,  180;  His  life  and 
teaching,  66,  95,  96,  204  ; 
the  miracles,  94,  178 ; 
story  of  crucifixion,  95 

(but  see  61) ;  moral  ideals 
in  teaching  of  Jesus,  65- 
6,  177 ;  His  presentation 
as  the  apostle  of  divine 
saving  energy,  140-1; 
Christ  in  the  Johannine 
writings,  235  (but  see 

ANITY —  Theological    as- 

Index  to  Six  Main  Topics 


pect  does  not  attract, 
26-7,  37  ;  except  elements 
incorporated  in  Koran, 
203 ;  such  as  Ascension 
and  Intercession,  36;  new 
thought  of  God,  as  a  God 
of  character,  141-2 ;  who 
desires  to  draw  near  to 
men,  140-1  ;  erroneous 
ideas  of  Christian  doctrine 
lessened  by  contact  with 
Christians,  60. 

ANITY —  Ethical  freedom 
of  Christianity,  36, 66,  179  ; 
Christian  worship,  98-9, 
178 ;  Christian  prayer, 
public  and  private,  36, 178  ; 
Christian  marriage,  98  ; 
the  marriage  rite,  98  ;  the 
spiritual  heaven,  66 ;  ex- 
ercise of  discipline  by 
native  church,  101  ;  ab- 
sence of  controversy  in 
teaching,  65  (but  see 

Christian  character,  pro- 
duct of  divine  activity, 
141-2;  influence  of,  feared 
by  Moslems,  204 ;  Chris- 
tian love,  37,  64 ;  truthful- 

ness and  unselfish  service, 
59;  forbearance,  177  ;  life 
of  Christian  family,  37  ; 
Christian  womanhood,  37, 
64,  179;  bearing  of  Chris- 
tian teachers  contrasted 
with  that  of  Islamic  priest- 
hood, 97-8 ;  bearing  of 
Christians  in  face  of  death, 
99 ;  hearing  for  Gospel 
won  by  conduct  of  Chris- 
tians, 96 ;  Christian  govern- 
ment, contrast  with  old 
regime,  205-6. 

Enterprise  of  Christian 
missions  attracts,  26,  37, 
64,  177  ;  medical  missions, 
96-7 ;  Moslem  belief  in 
influence  of  educational 
missions  upon  character, 
99-100 ;  Protestant  mis- 
sions have  won  respect 
lost  by  oriental  churches, 
26,  139-40. 

ITY, THE— Value  of,  for 
Moslems,  67,  206,  235-6  ; 
they  also  are  '  people  of  a 
book,'  176  ;  power  of  argu- 
ment from  prophecy,  176, 
94  ;  biblical  stories  in  ver- 
nacular, 94. 


GENERAL— All  that  is  dis- 
tinctive in  Christianity 
repudiated,  25-6 ;  some 
stumbling  -  blocks  inevi- 
table, others  removable, 
27 ;  Moslems  regard 

Christianity  as  religion 
whose  day  is  past,  59. 
DOCTRINAL  —  Doctrinal 
difficulties,  increased  by 
method  of  presentation, 
34-5,  38,  61,  152-3, 


Index  to  Six  Main  Topics 

225-6 ;  certain  doctrines 
regarded  as  dishonouring 
to  God,  143  ;  doctrines 
of  the  Trinity,  Deity  of 
Christ,  Incarnation,  61, 
102-3,  203,  207 ;  recoil 
from  idea  of  generation, 
225-6  ;  *  error  of  Christian- 
ity does  not  lie  in  making 
Christ  God,  but  in  making 
God  Christ,'  190,  208 ; 
Cross  dishonouring  to 
Jesus,  unnecessary  for  for- 
giveness, 62,  103,  145  ; 
conception  of  Fatherhood 
and  sonship  between  God 
and  man  repellent,  221-2, 
224-5  ;  different  con- 
ceptions of  what  a  sacred 
book  should  be,  61-2 ; 
objections  to  Christian 
doctrines  stand  or  fall 
with  infallibility  of  Koran, 
208  ;  question  of  reserva- 
tion of  Christian  doctrines 
which  cause  offence,  104 ; 
differences  necessarily 
called  out  in  discussion, 
105-6  ;  doctrinal  interpre- 
tation should  be  sub- 
ordinated to  living  experi- 
ence, 144-5- 

of  Church  to  orientalize 
and  arabize  its  forms  of 
expression,  218,  229-30; 
divided  state  of  Church  in 
eastern  lands,  27,  60 ; 
denial,  by  Protestant 
Christendom,  of  present 
operation  of  miracles  in 
physical  world,  178  ;  lack 
of  devotional  life  in  Pro- 
testant Christianity,  164; 

certain  Roman  Catholi 
practices,  163  ;  ritualistic 
services,  178;  slovenliness 
and  irreverence  in  worship, 
28  ;  failure  of  Christendom 
in  the  East  as  regards 
ablution,  28 ;  contradictory 
teaching  as  to  teetotalism 
and  sacramental  use  of 
wine,  28-9 ;  use  of  wine 
and  swine's  flesh,  208 ; 
absorption  of  a  Christian 
worker  in  his  profession 
as  an  end  in  itself,  178  ; 
inconsistency  bet  ween  pub- 
lic and  private  life  of  a 
preacher,  177. 

ITY (SOCIAL)— Failure  of 
Christianity  to  leaven 
western  life,  27  ;  demoral- 
izing tendencies  in  avow- 
edly Christian  society, 
148 ;  undue  stress  on 
materialism,  187 ;  lack  of 
religion  among  Europeans, 
27,  60 ;  contact  with 
nominal  Christians  in 
trade  and  in  politics,  60 ; 
hostility  of  Christendom 
to  Moslem  interests,  148-9 ; 
denial  of  Moslem  claims 
and  experiences  by  Chris- 
tians, 146-7. 

RELIGIOUS— Different  con- 
ceptions of  religion,  61-2 ; 
loss  involved  by  prohibi- 
tion of  all  magical  imple- 
ments and  powers,  103 ; 
fear  of  impact  of  Christian 
teaching  on  conscience, 
102  ;  Christian  sincerity  a 
difficulty  where  the  in- 
tolerance of  Islam  has 
bred  insincerity,  63-4  ;  fear 

Index  to  Six  Main  Topics 


of  consequences    of  con- 
version,     6 1  ;      elements 

which    attract    may    also 
repel,  101-2. 


GENERAL— Inter-relation  of 
two  religions  deeply  im- 
portant, 29 ;  Islam  con- 
tains some  mental  prae- 
paratio  for  Christian  mono- 
theism, 32  ;  mainly  outside 
Koran  and  in  semi-  Moham- 
medan sects,  73  ;  Moslem 
mental  content  and  envir- 
onment change  gradually, 
67-8,70-1  ;  missionary  aim 
not  substitution  of  one  set 
of  beliefs  for  another,  but 
presentation  of  Christ,  70  ; 
points  of  resemblance  are 
not  real  identities,  but 
relationships,  32-3  ;  con- 
gruity  of  Christianity  and 
Islam  more  apparent  than 
real,  108-12  ;  as  to  divine 
mercy,  109  ;  as  to  Jesus  and 
'Isa,  109 ;  as  to  second 
advent  and  return  of 
Mahdi,  no;  as  to  mysti- 
cism, no;  as  to  escha- 
tology,  in  ;  unbiblical 
syncretism  results  from 
lax  use  of  Christian  terms 
for  Moslem  thought,  112. 

— Fundamental  beliefs  in 
common,  107,  181  ;  agree- 
ment in  praise  of  divine 
goodness,  107 ;  supreme 
value  set  on  faith  in  God, 
150;  belief  in  the  Unity, 
71 ;  hints  of 'real  pres- 
ence' of  God  in  Koran 


and  Traditions,  31  ;  faith 
in  divine  immanence, 
though  degenerated  into 
pantheism,  71  ;  use  of 
Names  of  God,  219-21  ; 
common  antagonism  to 
scepticism  and  material- 
ism, 150. 

TO  A  MEDIATOR) — Desire 
for  a  mediator,  181-3; 
salvation  through  His 
sufferings,  183-5  J  search 
after  'the  Perfect  Man,' 
185-6  ;  belief  in  revelation 
through  human  mediums, 
72  ;  but  claims  of  Mo- 
hammed conflict  with 
claims  of  Christ,  72  ; 
yearning  for  an  incarna- 
tion, 71-2;  Logos  doctrine, 
strangely  incomplete,  30, 
227-8 ;  to  be  amplified 
by  Christian  teaching,  31, 
236-8  ;  Johannine  doctrine 
of  Christ,  235-6  ;  Moslem 
principle  of  complete  sur- 
render aids  in  moral  in- 
terpretation of  death  of 
Christ,  145-6 ;  power  of 
appeal  to  personal  authority 
— Mohammed  or  Christ, 
73-4 ;  approximation  of 
Moslem  'add  to  Christian 
SovXoy,  225,  236. 

tion through  sacred  books, 


Index  to  Six  Main  Topics 

72 ;  but  Christian  revela- 
tion richer  and  higher,  73  ; 
common  ground  in  lives 
of  prophets  and  personal 
religion  of  Psalms,  206 ; 
life  of  our  Lord,  206  (but 
see  1 08). 

MYSTICISM  —  Moslem  and 
Christian,  22;  'EN 
CHRISTO,'  39,  40  ;  possible 
naturalizing  of  dhikr  for 
Christian  purposes,  218-9  \ 
common  ground  of  deep 
religious  experience,  181. 



GENERAL— Vital  forces  of 
Gospel  manifest  at  points 
where  Islam  is  living,  119- 
21  ;  contact  with  Islam 
deepens  conception  of 
Christianity,  121  ;  alters 
emphasis  on  its  elements, 
1 2 1-2  ;  brings  out  elements 
forgotten  or  underestim- 
ated, 2 10- 1  ;  reveals  con- 
fusion in  Christian  termin- 
ology, 152;  Christianity 
meets  needs  untouched 
by  Islam,  210  ;  moral  co- 
operation between  Chris- 
tian leaders  and  earnest 
Moslems  needed,  154-5  ; 
contemplative  life  in  Islam 
calls  for  devotional  prayer 
life  in  church,  187  ;  Chris- 
tian beliefs  defined  by  con- 

tact with  Islam,  211-2; 
light  on  New  Testament, 
32,75,  113-9. 

RELIEF  BY  I  SLAM— Atone- 
ment, 38 ;  character  of 
Christ,  34-5,  41  ;  eschat- 
ology,  118-9  5  freedom, 
religious,  117;  God — His 
unity,  30,  39  ;  His  holi- 
ness, 40  ;  His  love,  40  ; 
His  ethical  omnipotence, 
40-1  ;  faith  in  His  living 
rule,  73  ;  incarnation,  the, 
38, 41  ;  miracle,  conception 
of,  1 1 6-7;  'Perfect  Man,' 
the,  188-91  ;  personality 
as  a  force  in  religious  life, 
73-4 ;  sex  relationship, 
42-3  ;  '  spirit  of  Jesus,'  43. 

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